Most employees don’t want to be ineffective, incompetent, or inadequate. Most people will change—if the change makes sense to them. They want to grow and advance. The purpose of counseling is to let the manager help employees to go from insufficiency to effectiveness. Counseling does not usually come easy to either manager or subordinate. It creates a difficult, painful, and stressful situation. You can reduce this if you take steps to build your counseling skills and develop appropriate expectations.
The following will guide you to build your counseling skills effectively.
Expect a negative reaction before a positive one
The subordinate is under stress and probably defensive. Expect it, and allow for it. This will help the employee to settle down. And make the subordinate to feel comfortable. This will help you to convey the message clearly and make him/her to speak up.
The employee may not volunteer all the information to explain what has contributed to the problem. There might be factors in the operation that could be causing problems that you don’t know about—inadequate procedures, conflicts, confusion. So you may have to listen carefully—and probe cautiously.
Be understanding without losing sight of objectives
You have to be firm about what you want from the employee. At the same time, there is the human factor. The employee is in trouble. You have to possess some empathy, if not Sympathy. At the same time, you can’t be swayed from insisting that your goals and standards be honored, especially if other employees are already honoring them.
Make counseling a learning opportunity for yourself
Make sure that each counseling session, unpleasant as the need for it may be, is a learning opportunity for you—to know more about the employee, the operation as the employee sees it, your impact on the department, etc. If you don’t learn something in any of those categories, then the session has probably not been a success.
It is not a one-time event, or a matter of adjustment. Whatever the change agreed to, it must be monitored. If it takes place, it has to be reinforced. If it doesn’t, more discussion is called for.
Consider counseling an investment
The emphasis is on making the subordinate a more valuable, productive member of the group. The focus is on the future: helping the person to work more effectively, to grow.
Be prepared to refer, if necessary
Don’t overlook the possibility that the prime contributor to the problem may be personal difficulties—family, psychological, etc. You should not be caught unawares upon learning this. Be prepared to refer the person to a specialist, an agency, a helping organization of some sort. You may not be able to help, but you have a right to insist that the employee seek help.
If you master the art of counseling you can eliminate and avoid most of the internal conflicts created by the people you manage. Speak up and give a chance to the employees to express their self. With this you can motivate the employee to give his/ her full potential. And If the employee is with problems you can identify the root cause and can cure it with less harm to the organization.