Ep #40: How to Deal with Employee Mistakes
Are employee mistakes and behaviors really affecting your business or are they just annoyances that are driving you crazy? Let’s take a look at the difference and a few suggestions for how to address each one.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- Take a step back and look at the mistakes employees are making. Is this a real business issue or just annoying?
- My advice – say to the employee, “This wasn’t done right. Here’s what my expectation was and still is. Please do it again.”
- The differences between things that people do or don’t do and behaviors that people do that annoy you.
- When you address these things in this manner, you are building your business brain.
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
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Hey everyone, I’m Kris Plachy, and this is How to Lead for Female Entrepreneurs and Founders, because the best way to grow a business is to grow the person who’s running it. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hello, everyone. How are you? Welcome to the podcast, in my best podcast voice. I’m so happy to spend some time with you today, and thank you again as always for tuning in. Just a gentle request and reminder, if you are a podcast listener and you want to share with the world that you love the podcast, I’d certainly love to invite you to head on over to iTunes and write a review. If you post your review that you post on iTunes or Google Play and share and tag me @krisplachycoach on Instagram, I will send you my favorite books list, and it’s pretty good. Really good books on there. Love to share that with you, and always just love to hear from you about what you’re learning by tuning in and joining me every week.
Today I have some interesting topics to talk with you about, and I thought I would also do something I don’t normally do, but I am actively and currently enrolling new clients for the Founders Lab, as I’ve mentioned, and want to remind you if you want to work with me in a coaching relationship where I’m also facilitating and teaching you one-on-one but also working with a group of other women like you, the Founders Lab are very small groups of women who are leading successful businesses but are struggling with the managing, leading, building the systems, you know, setting up all the things that help your business run more efficiently and effectively without you.
So since I am actively in the process of working with new clients to start with me into the new year, I thought I would also just give you some insight into some of the things that go on and that we talk about in the Founders Lab. You know, each of our weekly calls is a real blend of teaching, facilitating, and coaching. And what I have found is that you all have so many shared common challenges that it’s just such a wonderful incubator for you to come into and even if in the moment everything’s okay for you and there’s nothing hot going on, you will learn through the conversations that I have with other women in the group, and over the past few weeks we’ve been having some, as always, very interesting conversations. And I thought I would just share with you some of the general areas that we dive into, so you can get a sense of, oh yeah, that might be something I would want to spend some time on.
One of them is, and this has come up quite a few times for many of my clients recently, is really how to deal with stuff that bugs you and how to know if you are dealing with a real issue in your business and something you should be really addressing, or is it just annoying, and how far to take that, right? So I’ve had a few clients who are constantly frustrated with employee mistakes, and then we can also say, or are constantly frustrated with an employee’s behavior. And so I want to just give you some of the things that we’ve talked about in our conversations in the hopes that probably, I would imagine, some of you are facing some of the same things. So when we’re facing people in our business and we’re working on challenges where people just make a lot of mistakes, nothing is egregious, but it’s enough that it’s daily, it’s just exhausting, is what I hear from my clients, because it’s just this constant rework.
So what you have to do in those circumstances is you do have to evaluate is this a real business issue or is this just me being annoyed that someone made a mistake, but it’s not a big deal? Like, people are going to make mistakes. I know you know that. I know you make mistakes. I made one yesterday, maybe seven. So we have to have a level of forgiveness too, that this is just being human and things can happen. But when they start to add up and there starts to be a pattern, I want to start asking my clients like, do you have an employee who’s just not paying attention? Do you have a process, or lack of process, for consistent follow through and feedback? And so one of the, I think one of the best ways to address these little things that happen, is to not just gloss over them. I think a lot of us, what we do, if there’s just a, it’s a mistake, it’s annoying, but it’s like you feel like you’re being a nitpick if you say anything about it, then what you end up doing is just handling it, right? You just address it.
And then what happens is the employee doesn’t know. And even if you say to the employee, hey, you didn’t do that right, you’ve already remedied it. And it doesn’t really come across as a very big deal to the employee. So I would invite you if that’s you, which is what I’ve been talking to my client about, is to really start making a list of all of the things that are happening, and then I want you to think about how do I react when these things happen? Do I just ignore it, get mad, and handle it? Do I yell at them? What do I do in the moment? And what I would advise is that at least initially, when you kind of are starting this, is that you take that moment and you say, hey, this wasn’t done right. Here’s what my expectation was and still is. Do it again. Now, the problem with that for you, I know, is you’re going to be like, yeah, but I don’t have time for that. That’s going to take too long. It’s just faster if I do it myself. I respect all of those responses. The problem is that doesn’t help you ultimately solve the problem. We need an employee to know they didn’t do it right. We need them to know it’s unacceptable, and we need to know that they know how to do it correctly the next time.
Because if they keep making similar mistakes, then all of that generally will start to add up to a performance issue. All of us are entitled to mistakes, but not all of us are entitled to mistakes all the time and every day. That costs businesses money, right? So when you’re facing that, you’ve got to pay attention to how you respond. Remember, we always have to focus on what you have control over. You can’t control what other people do, but you can always control what people do, or excuse me, you can always control how you respond to what people do. And where that gets cut off and shut off for my clients is you get insulted, offended, irritated, that you even have to address such a stupid issue, right? Like, shouldn’t they know better? They’re adults. Shouldn’t they know better? Well, you know what? Clearly they don’t, or they wouldn’t have made the mistake. So instead of getting frustrated and handling it or getting frustrated and ignoring it or whatever it is that you do, I want you to acknowledge what wasn’t done well. Tell them, tell them what the clear expectation is, and then have them do it again, whatever it is.
Now, you may have fixed it because there might’ve been a timeline issue or a deadline issue. Maybe you assigned it to someone else because of the timeline issue. That doesn’t mean they still can’t go back and do it again, just to go through the process. A lot of times the reason why a lot of these mistakes are happening is A, because you don’t address them consistently, and so people don’t get in the habit of being really attentive to their results in their work, or they don’t think it’s really a big deal because you don’t address it and you don’t teach them how to do it correctly. You know, I remember my, when I first started dating my husband, I went to his parents’ house and his mom, because she ran a beautiful home and she had everything very organized, and I remember one day I went into a closet and she had on all the shelves, I think she still does this actually, she has on all the shelves, like a little piece of tape with written on it what needs to go on that piece of shelving right in that space. So it might say king sheets, flat sheets, king fitted sheets. It might say drinking glasses, coffee cups.
And it was funny, because I never was raised like that. And of course I think our cabinets might’ve been a little messy as a result. But my hunches that came after her trying and trying and trying to keep things tidy, and then someone would unload the dishwasher or somebody would put the laundry away and things wouldn’t get back where she wanted them, and so she finally realized, oh, maybe I need to be more clear in how I expect people to put away laundry, sheets, glasses, etc. Now, what becomes the barrier for us with that is we don’t think we should have to. And you know, in the famous Dr. Phil language, I could say to you, how is that working for you? Right? Like, if you’re still not getting what you want, but you’re kind of refusing to be that specific, then you may continue to be frustrated. I would love to see you get that specific. And if they still can’t get it right, then guess what? We really know we don’t have the right people on the team. Okay?
So the other side of that is when you have people who demonstrate behaviors. So there’s things that people do, tasks that people do or don’t do, that result in mistakes. But then there’s behavior, stuff that annoys you that people do. They talk too fast. One of my clients is sort of dealing with somebody who talks about themselves too much. They’re a little slower than you would like. They’re a little fast thinking, or they have too many ideas or they always want to change things, and you can tell that they annoy you. You have thoughts like I don’t know if I like this person. I don’t know if I’d really want to hang out with this person. They’re not like my other employees. And so then what happens is everything they do just becomes an irritant, right? They bug you, they drive you crazy. And so when you have given them that kind of attention, now you’re going to end up experiencing everything they do as completely annoying. And the problem with that is it’s not fair to them, because then your behavior starts to change towards them and they’re just honestly being who they are.
This isn’t someone who’s rude or aggressive or mean or whiny. This is just someone who is who they are. They talk a lot, they talk about themselves, they’re a little self-inflating. They’re super excitable, you know, that’s just kind of their way of being in the world. And if you start to resent them for it, it does change the dynamic that you share in your relationship and it can make you ineffective as their leader. So, you know, on the scale of performance issues, we first have to kind of just tidy up like, okay, yeah, I think this person might just kind of bug me, but they’re good people and they do good work and they have the best interest of my business in mind and their behavior isn’t affecting the business. That’s what we have to confirm.
Now, what I did with one of my clients in my Founders Lab is we had to really look at this person’s particular behavior who was talking too much, and was he really affecting the way that the business was working and the way work was getting done. And there actually was some evidence that that might have been the case. So we talked through what were some of the implications, some of the impacts, that this employee’s behavior was having on the business. And after we looked at that, we realized, okay, well when he talks too much, he over-talks in interviews and he doesn’t listen. When he talks too much, he talks too much in his one-on-ones and to customers, and he doesn’t listen. And so then it was like, okay, so part of the issue now is a performance issue. Now we’re having an impact to the business. And I worked with my client to recognize this is actually your responsibility to address. And my guess is most people don’t want to talk to people about talking too much. And we’ve actually had quite a laugh over it, because we all know those people who talk too much and don’t listen, and they just keep talking and they talk over you.
And that could be really fascinating when people don’t have like the social cues of knowing when to stop talking. But I really coached her to think about how she could give feedback about this particular behavior to address it in the context of an impact to the business rather than, “Dude, you bug me, can you stop talking?” That’s not effective, right? So all of us face these challenges in our business, you guys. You are not alone, which is of course part of what I love about the level set of my Founders Lab, is that you’re immediately with other people who may not have your exact circumstances, but are really in it in many of the same ways that you are. I love bringing you into that conversation and having you get to experience the solutions that are available. Of course, any time you want to make changes in anything, you have to be willing to stretch. You have to be willing to grow. You have to be willing to be vulnerable and put yourself out there and say, okay, this is happening and I’m miserable with it, and I don’t want to be, but I don’t know how to fix it.
That’s what we do together. We look at it and we say, okay, if this is absorbing your ability to be happy as a business owner, then let’s resolve it. Let’s figure it out. And that’s what we do in the lab. So every week my clients bring new and unique questions. We had a conversation just this week about what do I do about an employee who may not be necessarily happy in their personal life? How do I help her? What do I do about an employee, and should I help her? What do I do about how I’m going to pay people? I’ve never given performance reviews to this level of leadership. How do you think I should go about doing that? What do I do about the fact that I have a lot of thoughts and scarcity around making money? I like money, but I don’t know that I can make more than I’m already making. How do I deal with that? What do I do with a person that just recently came on the team and then within a couple months of being on the team told me they would be unavailable for a month? How do I deal with that?
So those are just everyday challenges that I know you’re facing, and everything that you’re dealing with, what I love about using the tools that I teach is when you get these foundational things in place, now you have built, and I’ve talked about this before, right, your business brain. You’ve built the thoughts and the filters for your business to help you solve these problems. Because ultimately, my goal is of course you don’t need me every week, that you will have this new level of confidence and foundation, because we can’t control what’s going to happen in our business. We can’t control the circumstances on a daily basis, but we can have a much clearer path forward and a much clearer way to resolve the challenges we have with people and the challenges we have with ourselves as business owners.
So I hope that gave you some insight into, you know, first of all, two ways, two things to work on if you have kind of constant mistakes, how to resolve those. And also if you have some behavior challenges, you’ve got to really dig deep there and see, okay, is this behavior affecting the business or is this just something that annoys me? And you know, honestly, that’s part of the benefit of coaching is we can tease that out and really make sure you’re being honest with yourself before you get about the business of coaching and giving feedback to someone. So thank you again for tuning in today, and I will look forward to talking with you next time.
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