As a continuation to Monday’s post, I want to address the “silver bullet” question that I often get from my clients, who are senior leaders: What is the quick, efficient, straightforward solution to dealing with employee issues? They are looking for the silver bullet so they can go on with the business of running their business. What I find is that there are few silver bullet solutions when dealing with individual employee issues; however, there are certainly things that can be done to support dealing with these issues in a more efficient manner. As leaders, time is money so when there is a lot of time spent on dealing with a single employee issue, that is time away from the business.
Two things that I stress with the senior leaders I coach are delegation and early intervention. Usually when a senior leader (Vice President, C-Suite level) is in the details of an employee situation, it is because they have not delegated the details to the appropriate person. They need to delegate the resolution of that situation to their direct staff and trust that their direct reports are able to handle it. And, if the situation is with one of their direct reports, they need to intervene early and be straightforward about the “issue”.
Early intervention is often the “straightforward solution” that Wikipedia describes as a silver bullet. If you, as a leader, notice that something is off with one of your direct reports and he or she is not pulling their weight, you should not put off talking to them about it and assume it will go away. It usually gets bigger. Intervene early and let them know what you are observing and what is “off”, per your observations and expectations. Then follow up frequently enough so they know how they are progressing (or not). An early intervention and a few quick check-in calls will take a lot less time than letting something go and allowing it to grow into something bigger. That will typically end up taking a lot more of your time. As a senior leader dealing with employee issues, using early intervention and delegating appropriately to your direct staff are workable solutions for those “unique” issues that arise, as well as those similar issues that arise repeatedly in employees.
Part 3 of this topic will be published on Friday and will include an example of how to effectively use early intervention.