Saturday, December 17, 2005

When good people do bad things

Greetings gang - I'm back after an unexpected break. I got caught up in all the fun that HR people have to deal with when someone shakes the idiot tree really hard.

That brings us to our topic du jour - how to handle the situation when good people do bad things.

Face the cold hard truth; sometimes even the best person you know will something bad that may hurt you, your relationship or even you business. It's tough to make the distinction between a good person and the bad behavior they have just carried out.

The trick to these situations is to separate the person from the behavior and focus appropriately on both! Tell the person how you feel about them and use that to be the basis for why the behavior is so unacceptable. Let's play out a little example - your best employee, John, has just failed to deliver on an important assignment - here's an example of what you might say:

"John, you are one of the best employees here. That is why I'm so surprised and disappointed that you did not complete your assignment. People recognize what a good worker you are and and many look up to you - this is a bad example for them and reflects poorly on you. We both know that you are capable of doing much better. Now please go complete the assignment....."

You may want to restate the task, conditions and standard to ensure that John understands it. Then turn John loose and watch him go. It's never a sure thing, but odds are that John will go forth and sin no more.

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