Tax Season Is Here!

We’re thick into our busiest season of the year. But I had to tell you this story.

Two accountants are in a bank when armed robbers burst in. While several of the robbers take the money from the tellers, others line the customers up against a wall and proceed to take their wallets, watches, and other valuables. 

In the midst of the chaos, accountant No. 1 jams something in accountant No. 2’s hand. Without looking down, accountant No. 2 whispers, “What is this?” to which accountant No. 1 replies, “It’s that $50 I owe you.”

Timing is everything.

Which, well, is a perfectly awkward segue into what I’m writing about today. 

You see, I’ve had my share of employees who “didn’t quite work out”. Just a hazard of being a boss, unfortunately.

And I’m always as careful as I can be when hiring: objective criteria for personality-role fit, multiple layers of evaluation, etc.

But of course, that doesn’t always mean that the employee’s work product is without the need for correction, now does it?

I’ve learned over the years to deliver this kind of correction in a way that builds up my team member (or, at least, that’s the goal — I’m certainly not always perfect about this).

And of course, I’ve learned that timing is definitely important. (There’s that segue.)

So here are the guidelines I try to follow…

Zakariyyah Zabek’s 
“Real World” Business Strategy Note

Correcting an Employee Kindly — But Effectively
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.” -Veronica Roth

Telling employees that their work doesn’t meet standards isn’t enjoyable or easy, but letting them know how they’re slipping up — and how to improve — is integral to building a strong team underneath you.

I’ve been around too many managers who didn’t get this right, which of course ended up having a detrimental effect on morale. I work on doing this well with my staff, and I thought I’d share with you how I approach “kind but effective” management with my employees.
Sharpen your message. Although you need to tell your people right away, don’t just blurt it out. Take a bit of time to prepare your message and ease into the subject.
Be prepared for pushback. Keep in mind that while you’ve known about the problem, the employee is probably hearing about it for the first time. Be prepared to handle the other person’s reaction, and acknowledge any negative feelings the person may be experiencing.

Don’t wait for “the perfect time” to have the conversation. There is no best time to tell a worker about his or her professional shortcomings. There will always be a looming deadline or some issue or emergency that crops up. The professional thing to do is address the subject right away. The longer you wait, the harder it will be, and the worse the problem may get. 
Give suggestions for improvement. Assure employees that the problem isn’t the end of the world–or their job. Rather, it’s an opportunity to improve their work. So offer options on how to solve the problem, or get their feedback on the best way to get on the right track.

We’re here to help. Let me know if you have any questions.
Oh, and did you see this?

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Zakariyyah Zabek
(214) 415-8679

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