Coaching & Counseling

4 Tips on Talking to Your Employees Regarding Concerns

A business meeting to discuss employee issues and concerns.

It can be difficult to address issues and concerns with your employees, but there are ways of going about it respectfully and in a mutually beneficial manner.

When there are conflicts and issues, or concerns that arise with your employees, it can be difficult to have a conversation with them. However, a conversation is the first step when solving what could go on to become a major problem. You don’t need to be on the offense or defense so long as you strategize carefully.

It’s one of the top strengths of a leader to be able to help and uplift a struggling team member or address an issue head-on. Remember the following when discussing a problem or challenge with your employees, whether you’re dealing with an individual or multiple people:

1. Don’t be afraid of conflict

Conflict is tough, but it’s not the enemy. You don’t have to be confrontational, but dealing with issues is important. Get past your fears and reservations about conflict and confrontation, and talk to them about specific issues with their work or behavior. There is a chance of retaliation or fights, but till they’re corrected or guided, changed behavior is impossible to expect.

2. Keep proof with you

However, your best bet is to stick to the facts, focusing on specific instances, proof, policies, and anything else that helps you go beyond feelings, emotions, and observations. If you’re prepared and have your data and information, you have nothing to worry about. Bring together formal complaints, HR records, performance charts, and other examples that act as proof.

You can also issue an employee warning letter that will document this instance and exchange and can be referenced in the future if need be.

An employer and their employee have a polite discussion, sharing concerns.

3. Stay open, honest, and positive

No matter how tough the situation, you should focus on the positives. This helps placate emotional, reactive, and defensive employees and keeps them from getting overly angry or upset. While this won’t completely negate any reaction, it may help keep a hold on the situation and avoid extreme aggravation.

Be open to hearing them out and listening to what they have to say, and offer them solutions rather than just chiding and reprimanding them. This is a great way to point out issues while still sharing constructive criticism.

4. Talk about what to expect moving forward

If it’s an issue that can be resolved, talk about the upside and solutions that are available moving forward. In addition to offering solutions, give them shared expectations, tips, and recommendations, as their role changes or evolves. This gives them a sense of direction and ends the conversation on a positive note, with clear options laid out in front of them.

It’s important to remember that as a leader, your job is to be fair but uphold certain values, goals, and principles. You shouldn’t have to feel guilty so long as you remain professional, empathetic, and realistic. Issues can be complex and multifaceted, whether you’re dealing with performance-related concerns, or you’re worried about behavior, or there are just general issues with the company.

Let us help you become a better leader! Sign up for our leadership characteristics training course, and learn from famous and everyday leadership examples.

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