You’ve hired the best person for the job, established an effective performance management process, and created an environment where employees can feel satisfied and engaged. However, there may be situations when a team member’s behavior is negatively impacting his or her performance and the success of the team.

The good news is your team members don’t get up in the morning thinking: “I wonder how I can make it difficult for my manager today,” or “Wouldn’t it be fun to violate a policy and see if anyone notices?” Therefore, we need to begin by always giving people the benefit of the doubt. When you give someone the benefit of the doubt, you suspend judgment until you hear all the facts. When you use the benefit of the doubt approach you are opening your mind to the possibility that your first conclusion of the situation may not be correct.

If you feel like you are jumping to conclusions, step back and remind yourself to investigate first and ask the questions: “What else could be happening in this situation?” “Do I have all the facts?” “Are there barriers in the way of my employee’s performance?” Once you have gathered the facts you are ready to provide feedback to correct the situation.

“You will never change
what you don’t confront.”

~ Phumi Ngwane, business consultant

Meet with your employee to provide constructive feedback after reflecting on the following questions:

  1. What specifically is the team member doing? If you are going to give feedback, you need to be able to describe the behavior with examples. The description should be about observable behavior and not judgments or conclusions about the behavior.
  2. Why does the behavior matter? If the behavior doesn’t really matter, don’t discuss it, but if it does, describe the long-term impact to you, the organization, and the employee.
  3. What can you do to support a change in behavior? Come prepared with ideas but remember the team member will be more committed to a solution they develop themselves instead of one imposed.

In summary, what is the best way to handle challenging people situations? 1) Give the employee the benefit of the doubt, 2) Investigate the facts, and 3) Meet with your employee to provide constructive feedback and coaching.

To discuss how we can partner together to create your management coaching program, contact us at or call 972 881-5282.