I know most of our managers are avoiding difficult performance conversations. What is the best way to encourage this? Is it just a training exercise? I a cultural change is needed.
Why are they difficult Michael? Some people (Japanese chefs and cooks for example) love the conversations
The anchor in all of this is always having the manager have the right tools and training. Manager training can help a lot with managers feeling they have the tools.
Manager training is always at the heart of it. That said, There are a few broader things that can help along with training:
Manager internships. Before people are in manager roles, get them to mentor others. See if you have have an “apprenticeship” into management. This enables newer managers to have practical experience before they’re in the role.
Getting the basics right. Ensure managers are having regular 1:1s. Rather than an occasional difficult conversation, encourage managers to give ongoing coaching. This can be a small change with a big impact.
Pair up managers with an effective mentor. Often this could be a senior or experienced manager. But it doesn’t need to be. Even managers with a similar experience level can benefit from having a peer to work through problems. Additionally you could look to pair managers with others that have a complementary skillset.
Work with leadership to make sure they can role model the behaviors you want to see. Leaders should show how difficult conversations can work.