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Commitments Communication Feedback E-mail Listening

I work closely with four people who report to me, and I am having a problem with one. He makes commitments, but if things do not go as planned, he claims that he never made any commitments. He keeps changing his story, and Iím trying to figure out how to deal with him.

Although your employee changes his story, it need not have an unhappy ending. There are a few strategies that can help keep both of you on the same page.

For example, when he makes commitments, you should rephrase them and repeat them back to him. This will confirm that you understand what he is saying, and will also reinforce your expectations of him.

Depending upon the projects, you should consider discussing some of them in the presence of the other members of your team. This can help communication and coordination among the team, and the presence of other employees as witnesses might lessen the likelihood that this particular employee will later deny his own words.

Since people tend to internalize messages more effectively with repetition and the use of more than one medium, you should also consider emailing a summary of the points of agreement after the meeting. This serves as both reinforcement and documentation.

It may also help for you to have more face-to-face contact with this employee during the life of any given project, as this will allow you to monitor his performance and make course corrections as necessary. However, if he consistently fails to keep his commitments, you might not want to keep him.

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