Have you ever implemented a policy only to feel taken advantage of because your team didn’t follow the guidelines?
One manager recently implemented a new policy on summer hours. Her guidelines were clear: one day a week each team member could leave one hour early as long as they let her know in advance so she could ensure there was adequate coverage.
It was a good policy intended to reward the team until… the team decided on their own to redefine the policy without the manager’s input. Before long, people were leaving early multiple days each week without informing the manager.
By the time she called me for advice, she felt disrespected, frustrated, and was ready to revoke the policy altogether. She had reached the point where she didn’t even know if she wanted to be in a leadership role.
Maybe you have felt the same way. I know I have. As a leader, you really only have two options when policy is not followed. You can either ignore it and hope people come around or confront the situation.
I’m sure you can guess that my advice was to tackle the issue straight on in a face-to-face conversation. If we’re honest, this is the last thing most of us want to do. Fear of conflict results in procrastination and that only intensifies the problem.
Here are 3 steps to effectively get the team back on track:
- Use the C.O.R.E. Feedback formula to prepare
- Conversation starter
- Observed actions
- Required actions
- End the meeting
- Keep it short.
- Don’t get sucked in to the drama vortex. This isn’t a policy discussion, it’s a reminder of what was already established.
She was nervous but she did it. It was a 5-minute conversation. Did she get push back? Of course, but not during the meeting. Team members approached her individually to try to persuade her that the policy wasn’t fair and didn’t make sense. I warned her the pushback would come so she was ready to stand firm. And she did.
How did she feel? Confident, relieved, and accomplished. She knows that conquering difficult challenges will only make her a better leader and that by holding firm the team will respect her in the future, even if they don’t like the policy.
When you find yourself in a similar situation and you feel taken advantage of, I encourage you to follow these simple steps and you too will experience the confidence that comes with addressing difficult conversations.