THE BUSINESS COACH with Laura Murphy: “I can’t tell him....”

Q: “One of my staff members is not pulling his weight and I have real difficulty in letting him know. How can I get the confidence to raise the issue?” David

A: “Ah, the lack of confidence issue, or to be more accurate, the ‘I’m scared of upsetting…/getting it wrong’ issue. The focus is on you rather than the issue in front of you. Well by not doing anything you are already getting it wrong, for yourself, your member of staff and your employer.

The first thing to understand is that it’s not up to you to “fix” his underperformance: that’s his responsibility. He knows that he’s dipped. Your job is to identify the appropriate help and support which will enable him to get back to an acceptable level of performance, or to recommend he moves on. With that understanding you can be objective about the conversation you must have with him.

And that’s the key. By being objective you put to one side your own internal anxieties about your performance. You plan what you’re going to say and when, how you might move the conversation on according to his responses, and what outcomes you want. Visualise the meeting, running the conversation a number of times. Your attitude will be crucial to how the meeting goes so make it successful by rehearsing it.

When it’s hard then make a double decision. The first is that you are going to talk to him. This immediately reduces your anxieties because you are taking control. The second is how you are going to run the conversation and manage the outcomes. You’ll find that by managing your own performance in this way, you will manage his.”

Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd.  To solve your problem email Tweet @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.