As a business owner, you’re going to deal with ups and downs throughout the lifetime of your business. Celebrations of growth and prosperity can surely be one of those moments you look forward to, but you will also experience some not so good times. The cutting of wages, hours, or even the need to let go of an employee can be rather difficult. And although you might never see that person before, the last thing you want is to make the situation worse. Therefore, the following includes a few things that you must avoid when facilitating a difficult conversation.
Avoid Making it Up as You Go
This is no time for you to wing the conversation simply. Doing so can run you the risk of disclosing private information or saying things that may not be factually accurate or confirmed at the time of the conversation. Instead, take the time to sit down and write down not only what you’re going to say but questions they might as you during the conversation. Following this procedure will prevent any misunderstandings and hopefully clarify to the employee why this action needs to be done.
Don’t Sugarcoat the Message
People don’t plan to sugar coat any part of the message. However, when they are confronted with the person face to face, emotion tends to go ramp up, and thus the temptation to sugarcoat the message increases. This happens for two reasons; one is that you want to avoid saying what you need to say and two because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Sugar-coating isn’t doing anyone any favors and can, in fact, anger the person even further. You can be direct with your message and still present sympathy for the person.
Not Providing Enough Details
This may sound strange, but one of the most common mistakes made by leaders is not providing enough details regarding an employee’s termination. Not telling someone why they’re being terminated sounds odd, but it happens a lot. Being unprepared and being in a tense situation are factors in this. Therefore, it is imperative to be clear with your employee. Detail every single issue that has led to this moment because being terminated and not knowing exactly why can lead to a whole new set of problems.