I have watched the Golden Globes, Emmy’s, People’s Choice, Grammy’s, and the Academy Aware nominations. Divas have paraded up and down the red carpet for the world to witness, ooh and ah! That got me to thinking, are there Diva’s in companies? As Francis McDormand said in the movie Fargo, “Yah, you betcha”!
I recently had a Diva experience that challenged my leadership logic. A manager met with an employee to deliver a final written warning for performance and I was asked to participate and offer insight and act as a witness. The employee had an excessive number of errors, significantly more than other members of the team. This had financial impact and resulted in a loss of productivity as others had to double check the output from this employee. The team was getting frustrated and this was affecting the morale of the department. The manager explained the issue and provided back-up data to support the warning. The employee defended and tried to minimize their actions but understood and signed the written warning. As the employee got up to leave, the employee looked at the manager and said, “I am not mad at you”. I was surprised and confused and turned to the employee and said, “I am sorry I do not understand what you mean by that comment, could you explain”? The employee said, “He’s the manager, I do not hold this against him”. The employee then turned and walked out of the office.
The manager and I looked at each other and realized this employee took no accountability for their action. Instead, the employee tried to deflect the responsibility for bad behavior to the manager. Spoken like a true Diva!
When these situations occur I turn the mirror onto myself and ask, What could I have done differently to avoid this outcome”? I realized the manager and company were not clearly communicating expected outcomes and accountabilities.
During the interview and onboarding, you must clearly communicate to the potential employee and new hire what their job involves and what results are expected. By communicating this information to prospective employees, you may eliminate candidates who don’t believe they can accomplish the results. By communicating this information to the new hire during onboarding, you reinforce your expectations and gain alignment.
In this instance expectations should have included number of acceptable errors, etc. The employee did not do their job but, neither did we. This bodes the question, are your employees clear about your expectations or is this open to interpretation? If it is open to interpretation, then the employee will continue doing the same thing until you clarify or redirect their behavior.
Expectations and roles change, and this means constant coaching and communication is required. Talk to your employees on a monthly (if not weekly) basis to ensure they understand the direction and goals for their role. This provides an opportunity to correct behaviors in the moment and avoids misunderstanding, frustration, errors, and potential performance issues. At the end of the day we want our employees to win! Whether the prize is a great day knowing you have added value or the Academy Award, everyone wants to walk the Red Carpet.