Working with employees to resolve performance problems is one of your key leadership responsibilities. How well you meet that responsibility will depend on your ability to fully understand the nature of each problem you face. By identifying desired and actual performance, you begin building that understanding. 1. Identify the desired and actual performance in specific, behavioral terms. Write them down.
2. Determine the negative impact of the problem — the ways others are affected — in specific terms. Write them down.
3. Identify the realistic consequences the employee will face if the problem is not resolved. Write them down.
4. Check "past practices". Have similar problems occurred elsewhere in the organization? How were they handled?
5. Determine what type of discussion is appropriate: Coaching? Counseling? Formal Discipline?
6. Seek counsel and obtain necessary approvals if formal discipline is involved.
Without question, the most critical component of the problem-solving process is preparation. How you handle this activity will, with few exceptions, shape the discussion, employee's response, the outcome, and the nature of your long-term relationship with each other.