Q4 Leadership Tip: When Your Direct Report Won’t Be Candid

Oct. 25th, 2019

The Situation

Sarah is COO for a nationwide manufacturing company.

Alice manages one of the plants, which is across the country from headquarters. Her strong organizational skills and attention to detail led to a successful opening for the facility five years ago.

Though the plant continues to be profitable, productivity has been off for several quarters. Rumor has it that some labor issues may be hurting efficiency.

Glossing Over Trouble

When Sarah asked Alice to submit a productivity report, Alice glossed over the problems as temporary. Her Q3 easygoing outlook tends to smooth over difficulty. Sarah followed up with a phone call, and Alice assured her that a flu outbreak was probably the culprit. “You’ll see, those numbers will bounce back. Things are fine!”

Sarah doesn’t think the flu really explains a two-quarter slide in productivity. She’s frustrated because Alice seems too dismissive of the problem and won’t really acknowledge any trouble.

Having an Honest Discussion

Which approach to dealing with Q3 behavior can increase the likelihood of discussing a problem honestly and openly?

You Make the Call!

A. Let’s face it: Q3 will continue to gloss over the problem. Better to get the information from a difference source.

B. Create an atmosphere of trust and use a “What’s In It for Me” benefit statement to provide a safe environment for Q3.

C. Put your foot down and demand answers. You can’t let Q3 continue to dance around such serious concerns!

Here’s Your Q4 Answer!

VP of Organizational Consulting Dr. Patricia Bagsby has the Q4 Answer!

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