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Courageous Conversations for Managers

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Managers are responsible for coaching employees to improve their performance and at times must deliver feedback that could be uncomfortable. During my management training programs, we review difficult situations and talk about how to best approach the situations. A few of the case studies are challenging for managers.


#1 Never on time

One of your best employees, Julie, is consistently late. Julie lives 45 minutes away and is a single mother. When she arrives, she does a great job. She knows her job, she hustles, and she is pleasant. A few of the other employees are complaining that Julie is always late and gets away with it. You tell Julie that you need to talk with her. When you meet with Julie, she tells you that her oldest son is a drug addict and that he recently moved back home.


#2 Know it all

Your new employee, Chris, is a great addition to the team. He is a recent college graduate and eager to learn. He is a bit outspoken and tells others how to be more efficient. His co-workers are a bit annoyed and not warming up to Chris. It’s hard to find and retain good workers and you don’t want to fire him.


#3 Money is missing

You believe that one of your long-term tellers, Joe, is stealing. You are not 100% sure and have never had problems with Joe before but numbers are not adding up. You recently heard that Joe’s wife lost her job. What do you do?


#4 Smelly situation

Your new employee has body odor. Other employees have mentioned the body odor to you and they don't want to work with him. You decide to talk to your new employee..


#5 Hands off

You just witnessed one of your best female employees yell at a male customer. When you approach the employee to ask what just happened, she said that the customer made an inappropriate remark and insulted her. What do you do?


Avoiding difficult conversations is not an option for managers.


If managers are lucky, they have a Human Resource professional who can guide them and help them plan for conducting a difficult conversation. It is not the Human Resource professionals’ job to conduct every difficult discussion in place of managers. There will be times, it makes sense to have the HR professional present during the discussion.


We have a new management development programs focused on Conducting Courageous Conversations. The learning objectives for managers are to learn how to:


• start a performance discussion with care,

• use specific information to give clear feedback,

• respond to an emotional or upset employee,

• use appropriate body language during a performance discussion,

• listen for understanding,

• end the performance discussion with tact and professionalism, and

• follow up with the employee.


If you are interested in scheduling an in person or virtual program, give us a call today.

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