Communication is essential to leadership success, but knowing how and when to use your business communication tools often takes time and practice. Consider the following case study:
You are the manager of a team of workers, and Diego is one of your employees. Before joining your department three months ago, Diego worked six months in another area. Since assigned to your unit, Diego has been repeatedly late for work or absent. Other employees are complaining. You’ve learned that Diego had a similar problem in the other department.
Company policy states that if an employee is warned of such a problem and the behaviors continue, the individual may be given a three-day suspension without pay.
One important item to consider: Diego, when he’s on the job, is a top performer and someone you definitely want to keep on the payroll. He can run circles around the other people. He just has problems with tardiness and absenteeism.
Your goal with this assignment is to create a comprehensive communication strategy to correct Diego’s performance issue. You plan to schedule a face-to-face meeting with Diego to address the matter. First, you must notify Diego of the meeting via email. Next, you must plan the agenda for your face-to-face meeting with Diego.
Step One: Email – Create an email for Diego to notify him of the meeting. Use Chapter 6: Formatting for Correspondence (pp. 133-147) in Business and Professional Writing: A Basic Guide by MacRae to help you format your email. For the body of your email, use Chapter 8: Bad News Letters (pp. 162-173) as your guide.
When composing your email, consider the following questions:
- How should you communicate the purpose of the face-to-face meeting to Diego via email?
- When do you feel is the best time of day and day of week to hold the meeting?
- Where is the most appropriate location for the meeting? Diego’s work station? Your office? Other locations?
Based on your answers, include the date, time, and location for the meeting in the body of your email.
Step Two: Face-to-Face Meeting Agenda – Every successful meeting has a pre-planned agenda. Read the following guidelines on How to Conduct an Effective Disciplinary Interviewby Ruth Mayhew.
When creating your meeting agenda, consider the following questions:
- What outcome do you need to communicate to Diego during the meeting? What do you believe is the best course of action to handle this problem? Should you counsel Diego and issue a verbal warning? Write a formal letter of reprimand? Suspend the employee for three days without pay? Other actions?
- How can you clearly communicate company expectations and what you need from Diego moving forward?