As a labour consultant – often called in to resolve issues that have already degenerated into a sticky mess – I am often amazed at the poor “conversational” skills exhibited by both junior (to be expected) and senior management.
So many of the problems I encounter are the direct result of an inability to broach and deal with performance and misconduct related issues in a mature, calm and balanced manner. The result is all too often an angry outburst or a game of toss the hot potato (making the problem go away by making it someone else’s problem).
Do we still teach the basics of performance conversations – in other words how do I discuss these sensitive and emotive issues while still maintaining a good working relationship – if that is possible?
Many years ago I used to run programs on coaching for poor performance, communicating minimum standards, negotiating performance objectives etc. While I am sure such training is still conducted, there appears to be a gaping hole in basic performance management skills. So many of the cases that find their way to the CCMA could have been nipped in the bud had the manager concerned dealt with the issues in appropriate mannner.