“I think the world of Jane but she seems to be in over her head. But, I’ve got to advance her division.”
These decisions are tough for many leaders. On one hand, you know, trust and enjoy working with Jane. On the other hand, over the past six months, her area has significantly declined in ROI. It’s time to sit down with Jane and find out her level of understanding regarding her, and her team’s, lack of performance along with determining what is important to her now.
Understanding the Pressure
People change. Business changes. Pressures remain.
It is essential to create an environment of empathy and curiosity regarding Jane’s situation. Have her detail her view. You should commit to listening without bias, without a predetermined agenda. Notice how she speaks about the issues, her degree of responsibility to them and her desire to cure them. Each of these three areas can be quite telling. She may reveal an awareness of the problems and a well thought-out plan to resolve them. However, she may be confused and frustrated, not understanding what’s going on or resigned to the problem with an air of defensiveness. At least now you know what you’re working with here!
Caring by Restructuring
One solution can be restructuring Jane’s area along with restructuring her. Determine an area where you believe Jane can make a difference and that will get her confidence back. This demonstration of YOUR loyalty to her could save her for a time. Look for others who can take on some of her responsibilities and/or assist her as she gets the department back on its feet. You get to hit the “reset” button with someone you believe in, and she gets a new lease on life. She’ll also see who on the team is there to help her and who is not. Throughout this time, though, create a formalized coaching plan for her. Meet with her regularly with specific metrics of success that you both create together.
Have a situation like this on your team? Tell me about it in the comments below. Thanks!