You’ve tried everything, and the bad behavior continues. You don’t want to say “You need to change this behavior or else,” but the truth is–there will be consequences. Keep that “feedback-is-a-gift-and-I-care-about-you” loving feeling in mind, while having a direct conversation about specifically what must change. Don’t linger. Don’t sandwich. Do document.
The INSPIRE Method
Use the INSPIRE method to have a short, to the point, specific conversation about what must change.
Initiate the conversation in a respectful manner. Traditional feedback models always start with “asking for permission.” Most of the time that’s an awesome start. Sometimes, though, the conversation isn’t optional. You may need to be more direct.
“I need to talk to you today. Is this a convenient time?”
Share your concern or observation.
“I’ve noticed there are paint drips on the floor when you leave a job.”
Or, “In listening to your calls, I’ve noticed you’re not really making a connection with the customer.”
Provide supporting evidence.
“In the last two homes you painted, there was splattering on the hardwood in the dining room and on the rug in the baby’s room.”
Or, “When the customer told you they were calling to disconnect because their spouse had died, you didn’t express any empathy, you just said that you would be happy to disconnect the line.”
Provide specific suggestions on how the employee could improve.
“I suggest you put down a drop cloth every time you paint. You should also use masking tape to protect drips on the molding.”
Or, “I suggest you stop to listen to what the customer is really saying, and pause and use an empathy statement before you jump right into action.”
Ask one or two open ended questions to check for understand and one closed ended question to secure commitment.
“How would your results be better if you did that every time?”
“What concerns do you have about this approach?”
“Do I have your commitment to do that going forward?”
Ask them to review what they are committing to do.
“Would you please recap what you’re going to differently next time?”
Enforce the behavior and why it’s important, while reinforcing your confidence that they can do this.
“Using the drop cloth is a fundamental requirement of this job. In order for you to continue in this position you need to do a quality job.”
“I’m going to check back with you on your next three paint jobs (or calls) and look to ensure you keeping your commitment.”
“You are a very important member of this team and I have every confidence you can do this well.”
Often when behavior isn’t changing the feedback is too vague or the conversation goes so long, the employee forgets specifically what they need to do. Work to INSPIRE specific behavior change by using this easy technique.