Change the story. Improve the relationship.
What do you do with a difficult employee? Learn a simple way to handle those conversations more easily.
For purposes of illustration, let’s call one of these employees “Michael.” You have an ongoing issue regarding Michael’s apparent inability to get to work on time. As you walk into your monthly meeting with him, this is the story you tell yourself about him: “Here we go again. I know what he’s going to say. He’ll give me another lame excuse as to why it’s not his fault he can’t show up for work on time. I can’t believe how a man his age can be so irresponsible.”
Improve Any Relationship by Simply Changing the Story in 6 Steps
Using Michael, a difficult employee, as an example.
- Review the story you tell yourself about the person.
When you meet with Michael, monitor your self-talk. Be honest. What story are you telling yourself about him?
- Monitor your body language.
The fact is, the attitude we have about another person is what drives our behavior toward them. Don’t think that your negative view of Michael doesn’t show. Body language reveals all.
- Make a decision to change the story you tell yourself about this person.
By making this commitment, you are shifting away from being reactive to being proactive. Instead of reacting automatically (based on your old story), you will now act more consciously and with intention.
- Take a few moments to reflect on the person’s good qualities.
Make a list of Michael’s positive attributes. Everyone has them — you just have to look.
- Write a new story about the person.
Your new story about Michael might start out like this: “Michael has worked for us for the last 5 years. He knows his job and meets or exceeds our standards most of the time. When I took over the team he and I got off to a bad start, for reasons I don’t understand and probably never will. Starting now, I intend to treat him the same way I would want to be treated if I were in his position. When talking with him, I intend to to maintain an open mind and reserve judgment. When he is speaking I intend to listen closely to what he has to say and absorb the meaning.”
- Let go of the outcome.
You’ll notice that the above example of the revised story about Michael includes the use of the phrase “I intend to.” This is to remind you that the right behavior starts with the right intention. You have (absolutely, positively) no control over Michael’s behavior. It will be up to him to decide how to respond to your new, more open approach.
May you be happy,
2012 © Barbara Burke. All rights reserved.