It’s Time to Change the Relationship

I provided a leadership training program recently to a client as part of their year-long Leadership Development Program for Women. My program was entitled, “Effectively Leading By Managing Difficult Situations and People.”

At the start of the program, I asked the participants in addition to what I had planned to cover with them, what other leadership issues they would want me to address. One woman raised her hand and said, “I’d like to learn how to provide corrective feedback to my staff without needing to change the relationship we have.” Her question was so basic, yet important it caused me to stop and revamp my entire program on the spot to address it. Because without every person in that room understanding how to deal with that issue, they would never become leaders capable of dealing with difficult situations.

When that woman said, “I’d like to learn how to provide feedback to my staff without changing our relationship,” I replied, “If your current relationship with your staff is so great, why aren’t they doing what you need them to do and why don’t they already know you’re not satisfied?”

Needless to say, she was a bit stunned by my blunt reply (she’d never been in one of my training session before!), but I could tell she understood my point.

My point was simply this: If your staff isn’t doing what you want and need them to, before you talk to them about it, ask yourself: “Why aren’t they doing what I need them to do?”

  • Is it because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing?
  • Do they think they’re already doing everything correctly?
  • Are they performing as they always have without comment by you or others?
  • How long have you let this “unsatisfactory” behavior occur?
  • Why haven’t you done your job as their manager and communicated with them right away when things weren’t done correctly so they could adjust right away?
  • Why have you been afraid to do your job?

Your job as a manager is to get things done working through your staff. For that to happen, you need to be clear in what is expected of them, when, and how. You don’t need to be a dictator; you need to be a clear communicator. This is simple to say, but very hard for many managers to do. And the hard part for many is simply that they’re afraid some staff members will get angry with them or not like them because they’re “being criticized.”

That may well happen. However, if you do your job and clearly communicate with your staff on a regular basis what is expected, and you provide regular feedback as to when expectations are being met and not met, you’ve got nothing to fear. Your staff will always know where they stand with you and how they stand in their relationship with you.

If you do your job, it’s easier for them to do theirs. However, if you’re the manager and you aren’t doing your job, it’s time to change and it’s time to change the relationship with your staff. Learn to be a stronger manager, then you’re more likely to become a leader.


Copyright MMV – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – +1.717.597.8890

Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.


Liz Weber CMC CSP

Liz Weber CMC

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.



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