Apartment Leadership: Courageous Conversations

Apartment Leadership: Courageous Conversations

Posted on 16. May, 2011 by in Business

How many times have you felt the creep of butterflies in your stomach as you prepare for a ‘moment of truth conversation’ with a member of your property management team? It’s about as natural as a right hand dominate eight year old dribbling and shooting a basketball with their left hand.

Here is how Dominic Orr, President and CEO of the wireless networking company Aruba Networks, describes his early experiences;

Another thing I distinctly remember is that I had trouble having a difficult discussion with employees because, as a young manager, sometimes you don’t really know how to tell somebody to their face that they’re not doing a good job.
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/business/08corner.html?_r=2

I remember the first time I terminated a fellow team member. It was awful; I did not sleep the night before and had knots in my stomach for two days after. Kind of like the famed Eminem belts in Lose Yourself – “his palms were sweaty, arms were heavy, there’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti…”

Okay, I didn’t loose my lunch but still to this day; I don’t love the experience of addressing bad behavior/performance. But, with time, commitment and practice, I have become good about having courageous conversation in moments of truth.

Following are a couple of things to remember when facing similar circumstances;

  1. People want feedback. And, they want it often both the good and the bad. Take the time to give it to them.
  2. Have the conversation very near the moment you have cause. The worst mistake you can make is to allow too much time to pass.
  3. Use a model to frame your conversation. I learned of the SBI model back in the late 90’s and use it still. The ‘S’ stands for Situation, the ‘B’ for Behavior and the ‘I’ for Impact. The premise for the model is to keep the conversation on brief, clear and on track. We will talk more about that point in future posts.

Remember, people of all walks want feedback. In the right cases it’s more compelling than money in terms of motivating someone.

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