There is no question that you will find yourself addressing an endless list of challenging business, contractual and interpersonal matters throughout the course of any given day so learning how to troubleshoot is a key skill that any leader will have to possess. Some of this can be acquired through standard research, but there is no match for experience in this department.
Being able to have one-on-one discussions with each of your team members is instrumental for providing insight into development. Not only can it help improve your team’s production level, but people very much appreciate when you take time to focus solely on them, whether the situation is positive or negative.
It is important to find a quiet space where you can speak one-on-one with team members. Providing feedback to an individual with others around is simply not as effective. Not only is it more difficult for the individual to receive your message, but it will be more challenging to deliver it since you may have other team members joining in the conversation – even if they don’t, there may be a ripple effect throughout the team.
There are a few cardinal rules of providing feedback to a team member, or anyone for that matter, but the most critical is to ensure that you leave the individual with their integrity intact. In other words, feedback should serve to guide and provide navigation for future growth, not to berate or make an individual feel bad.
The second cardinal rule is to focus on the issue, not the person. As a leader, you want to rise above personal issues. However, if team members you hire start to display behaviors that are less than pleasing and/or disturbing to the team, you will want to address the behaviors ahead.
Again, you never want to put a team member down, whether it be the person you are speaking with or other team members. When you do this, you break down the team’s trust. You hired every member of this team, so your job is to mentor, guide, assist and serve.
The final cardinal rule is to start on a positive note and end on a positive note. This helps the individual listen to the message you are providing – in a sense, it equalizes the tone. If your voice is harsh and you are negative throughout, your team member will likely shut down and not be open to the valuable communication you are trying to engage in. Likewise, positive communication delivered with an even tone makes it possible for the other to feel as though they can ask questions and insert dialogue where they feel necessary.
It is always good to have a give-and-take with your team members, this enables an open exchange of ideas – the team learns from you and you learn from the team.
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