Ruby Newell-Legner - 7 Star Service
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How to Have A Tough Talk

serious talk, serious discussion When is the last time you had a “courageous conversation”? You know, the one that keeps you awake all night, thinking about the best way to tell the new guy in sales that his numbers aren’t acceptable. Or the one you keep ignoring, hoping someone on the customer service team will finally take a leadership role.

One of the biggest mistakes I see managers repeatedly make is failure to address performance issues in a timely manner. Being a leader means being assertive and telling the new sales rep that he needs to sell more in order to keep his job.

You must be clear with the person with whom you’re having a Courageous Conversation; otherwise he or she won’t know what you want. Remember not to use “you” when speaking with the employee. Rather, replace “you” with something like “the expectations of the person in this position are…”

This approach reduces the potential for the employee to view the Courageous Conversation as a personal attack and focuses on the job instead of the person. Many times an employee can’t concentrate on what his supervisor is saying, because the word “you” is overused.

If you are preparing to have a Courageous Conversation with a staff member, plan your approach:

  • Make suggestions for improvement about the position, not the person.
  • Create an environment that lowers people’s defenses.
  • Create mutual respect and understanding.
  • Increase emotional safety and make it safe to talk about anything.
  • Encourage freedom of expression.
  • Be persuasive, not abrasive.
  • Find a way to get your point across without criticizing.
  • Choose your words carefully. Here are some phrases to avoid:
    • “That’s not in our budget”
    • “We have never done it that way before.”
    • “We tried that five years ago, and it didn’t work.”
    • “Sounds too risky.”

Leaders do whatever they can to help their staff grow. They look for teachable moments every day, and they make employees feel good about learning new things.

(Photo by Pixabay)

About Ruby Newell-Legner

As a Fan Experience Expert, Ruby helps leaders in sports, leisure and entertainment build strong teams between front line staff and management, and make exceptional customer service a way of life. She has consulted with and designed customized training programs for more than 60 sports and entertainment venues, 80 leisure facilities and 29 professional sports teams. From the only 7 Star Hotel in the world to Convention Centers, from Denver to Dubai, Ruby brings unprecedented expertise and insight on how to create a service culture that motivates employees and promotes customer loyalty and retention.

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