Supervisor Employee Relationship: Coaching Problem Employees

Tulsa Accounting Services


How to coach through supervisor employee relationships

If an employee, whether new or long-tenured makes a mistake – it’s often best to consider coaching, mentoring and additional training instead of immediately thinking about discipline and possible termination.

8 steps to better performance 

Here’s an outline a manager can use to prepare for a performance conversation with an employee.

1. Let the employee know your concern. Cut out the small talk and get straight to the topic of performance improvement. This conversation is important and should be treated as such.


2. Share observable behavior. Offer specifics about actual behaviors that have been witnessed. If someone else saw the behaviors, try to have that person there. Employees will not respond well to statements such as, “Someone told me you did this ….”

Because the goal is to change behavior, it’s important to specifically address behavior. 


3. Explain how the problem affects the team. Employees might not realize how their behavior negatively affects others. Managers should be prepared to draw a connection between the employee’s performance and the company’s success. If negative impact can’t be explained, then an employee will question the need to change.


4. Tell them the expected behavior. Even if it has been explained before, managers should clarify what the company’s acceptable performance standard is and how employees can achieve the standard.


Substandard job performance takes two players: the manager and the employee. And while it’s always easier for a manager to focus on the employee as the source of the trouble, it may be even MORE helpful to look to management as the source of the problem – and the solution.


5. Solicit solutions from the employee. This is so important! Let the employee outline the action steps he or she plans to take in order to correct the situation. If a manager has to tell an employee what to do, the employee hasn’t bought into the solution.


6. Convey the consequences. Communicate to the employee what will happen if the situation is not resolved. Consequences can vary greatly, from a transfer request being denied to disciplinary action.


7. Agree upon a follow-up date. “No news is good news” is not a management philosophy. After the employee agrees to work toward improving performance, set a follow-up date to discuss progress.


8. Express confidence. Managers should affirm their belief that the employee has the ability to correct the situation.


Negative performance conversations are never fun—for the person giving them or the person receiving the feedback. Think of the different responses that could arise and how to best answer. Preparation will make the conversation easier.


Tip: The sooner the conversation occurs, the better. The longer the wait, the harder it becomes. The purpose isn’t to punish the employee. It’s to change the employee’s behavior.


LUXA Enterprises offers outsourced hr solutions for small and mid-size businesses in the Tulsa and surrounding areas. If you’re considering a short or long-term approach for your hr needs, give us a call for more information at 918-928-7288.

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