At some point in their career, every manager encounters a situation when they need to decide on how to address situations involving poorly-performing workers. The current case study concerns a conversation with a top employee who once again began working ineffectively. In order to resolve the problem, I will first voice the issue and then give the employee a chance to present their perspective, thus engaging in active listening.
Poor performance of one employee is a problem that is not limited only to the worker themselves, and it affects the entire team. According to Patrick Lencion (2002), the absence of commitment among people in the workplace leads to a dysfunctional team. Although removing an uncommitted employee is an option, discussing their problems first is more reasonable. As a result, I will ask the employee several short questions. One-sentence questions help to keep questions open-ended, allowing the fellow communication partner to respond in a complete way (Haden, 2019). Such questions will also assist me in removing my personal emotions from the conversation, enabling me to listen to the employee’s concerns and proposals instead. Empathy involving active listening and curiosity can contribute to better retention, productivity, and talent attraction (Ross, 2019). Thus, I will choose active listening and open questions as my main tools for building effective workplace relations through empathy. Thus, the following conversation will ensue:
Me: John, you are a valuable asset to the company, but your performance has been unsatisfactory recently. Could you please describe the reason?
Employee: I would say that it is due to my low job satisfaction.
Me: Could you please tell me how the company can help you to improve performance and increase satisfaction?
Employee: I think I can be more effective if the company reduces my workload.
Me: Would you be willing to give up a share of your salary for the workload reduction?
Employee: I would be fine with a slight decrease.
Me: I will negotiate the possibility of a new contract with the owner and will come back to you.
Employee: Thank you.
In order to discuss the employee’s poor performance, it is important to use active listening and open questions to understand their perspective. Additionally, such techniques help to contain any unnecessary emotions while maintaining empathy. Stating the problem first and then letting the employee share their thoughts is a reasonable way to avoid conflict.
Haden, J. (2019). How smart people ask great questions (and get better answers). Inc. Web.
Lencioni, P. (2002). The five dysfunctions of a team. Sage.
Ross, M. (2019). 3 ways increasing your empathy makes you a more effective leader. Entrepreneur. Web.