Have you ever had somebody on your team that’s withdrawn or someone whose performance has dropped and you just know that there is something going on? Isn’t that one of the most frustrating things we deal with as leaders? If our employees would just tell us the problem, we could fix it and help improve performance. It’s when they withdraw and don’t communicate with us that it’s the most difficult. At Rise Performance Group, we deal with this often in our coaching practice. Here is what we have found that works well:
1. Call for an intentional meeting.
Prepare for the meeting by listing out three or four authentic compliments that show you care, are paying attention and that you notice the quality of their work. Then, address the issue: “You know, I have noticed lately that something has changed.” or, “I feel like there is something that may be bothering you. I would like to help. Can you tell me what’s going on?”
2. Discover the issue.
In our experience, a drop in performance probably stems from one or two main issues:
- They’re upset about something at work. If they’re upset because you failed to give them recognition, or they’re feeling under appreciated, this is something you can easily fix as a leader (and beginning the conversation with a compliment is a good start).
- It’s personal. If it’s personal, they’ll recognize that it’s something they need to deal with on their own.
3. Determine how you can help.
In either case, we want to listen and seek to understand what we, as leaders, can do to serve them while maintaining the integrity of performance on our team. So if it is a case where we have done something that offended them; listen and negotiate a strategy that makes you both feel good. If it is a personal issue, ask what you can do to support them so that you both can get back to the kind of performance that you know he or she wants to deliver for the organization.
Practice these principles and you will see your relationship with your team members improve–and the productivity of your team improves right along with it.