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  • Buck Paolino

Use Extreme Ownership to Make Difficult Conversations More Productive Than Ever.




This week we’re talking about how to have a difficult and what many feel like are uncomfortable reviews with team members.


It’s never enjoyable to get a scathing email or call from something your team missed out of the blue.


You felt like everything was being handled correctly, the team was moving in the right direction, everyone was completing items and providing value to clients.


But then, a guest asks to see the manager, or a frustrated email comes across your inbox.


This happened to me recently and this is how I handled it.


I received an email that items were not being completed timely and were frustrated with a team member. My immediate reaction was frustration, anger, and like this couldn’t be right. But I went and checked and they were; tasks were not getting done. So how do you handle those type of situations?


The first step is to take your own responsibility for what was missed. These are the questions I asked myself:


  • Did I set a clear expectation for the role and responsibilities?

  • Which areas did I miss based on those expectations: communication, knowledge, time, attitude?

  • Out of those areas what training and development needs to happen in what timeframe?

Those questions were all done before meeting with the team member and took about 30 minutes to plan out.

Then when I met the team member, I first told them the reason for the review and the areas in which I took responsibility on why items were not being completed. I did this so that the conversation could be open, specific, and lay a foundation on how the team member could not just improve but excel.


When taking responsibility first it lowers the guard of your team allowing them to be approachable and shifts the focus to making actionable changes instead of a we said the client said smear campaign.


So our tip for this week is before having that difficult meeting with a team member get out a piece of paper and write out the areas in which you need to take responsibility for. This way you can be specific on changes needed and refer to them during your conversation to stay on point.

This simple tip will provide clarity on the issue, build trust and rapport with the team member, and will keep you on point on what needs to be done specifically to get them completing items they way they should.

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