How to Properly Confront a Struggling Staff Member

Everyone struggles at work from time to time. When struggling persists or begins to affect the work of others on the team, however, a manager or leader may need to step in and work one on one with the struggling staff member.

Here’s how to confront a struggle and help your staff members fix the issues that cause them to struggle.

1. Explain What Needs to Change and Why

Clarifying what needs to change is essential, but so is explaining the reason change is required. The “why” provides context and meaning, two powerful drivers in the quest for change.

Give your staff member context by explaining what needs to be done, how the staff member can get there, and how it will benefit them to contribute in this way.

2. Confirm the Staff Member Understands

Get a clear response from your staff member that indicates they fully understand what they need to do, why they need to do it, and what will happen if it isn’t completed according to the terms set. If your staff member has reasons they can’t follow these terms, listen to the reasons and help them work out an alternate plan.

Reserve judgment until you’ve given your staff member a chance to explain the situation from their point of view. Often, struggles are the result of a misunderstanding or event outside the staff member’s control.

3. Encourage the Staff Member to Contribute Ideas For Change

When you ask staff members for their perspective, don’t hesitate to ask them for ideas about how to change the situation. Questions like “What would help you fix that?” or “How can we make sure you have the tools you need?” foster a sense of ownership in your staff member, committing them to the process of change and holding them accountable for the ideas they offer.

4. Recognize Positive Momentum

When things change for the better, point them out to your staff member. Be concrete: “I appreciate that you responded to my email within ten minutes.” This reinforcement helps your staff member understand and appreciate the right way to get things done.

Looking to Staff Up?

The recruiters at Kent Legal help law firms and legal departments in the greater Toronto area connect with some of the best legal talent available. If you’re looking for a new team member or want to improve your hiring methods, contact us today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *