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I have had two conversations recently with Senior Executives who have had to have a “performance management” conversation with one of their employees. In each case, they positioned the conversation around the impact on the business and gave all the reasons why behaviours needed to change. In effect, they “sold” the need to improve. It became clear that the majority of the conversation was led by them, mainly because they had waited so long before calling their people in for a meeting, that their frustration drove the delivery of their message. In each instance, I listened and then at the end of the conversation asked “What was their response?”. They told me that the person had listened carefully and nodded when told what had to change, by when and how. They then left and the Senior Executives are now “waiting” to see the changes. On the senior executive leadership development programme, we run through a number of steps and key questions which engage the employee, ensuring that they contribute to the conversation and ideally agree that they need to change and propose what they are going to do. If they don’t, the key question has to be “So, what are you going to do?”. The steps are these:

How are things going for you?
What’s getting in the way? (if they don’t share anything, then its the Manager’s turn to say “can I share what I’ve been seeing? ……….ending with “do you agree?”). Sometimes its easier to start the conversation with something like “there is no easy way to say this but ……..”
What impact do you think this is having?
What could you do about it?
What are you going to do?
What support do you need from me?

By asking “what are you going to do?” it clearly places responsibility on the individual. Once they verbally commit to taking action, that they have identified, they are much more likely to actually change. Give it a go and if you would like further support check out the next CPD accredited Leadership Programme which starts on the 10th May. Click here for more information.