Arriving at the language school I was attending in Costa Rica in the middle of the night with very minimal Spanish-language skills, I found my way to a very small town with no street addresses or names and found my temporary residence. I was scared, but I handled the situation very well, very calmly. In very stressful situations, I am always the one in the group to stay calm and focused. My friends, family, and professors have always said that I am an oasis of calm in a storm.
How have you used communication skills to manage employees?
I inherited a long-term poor performing sales rep who would not follow through on the plan of action we discussed during our field ride-along. He was also a poor listener who would always try to turn situations around and blame others for his failures. I found that communicating with him in writing left the ball in his court, and he could refer back to my written communications when needed. Putting things in writing also left a paper trail to show the rep’s progress. The experience taught me that you have to treat each rep individually and find out the best way to communicate with each.
I had a very difficult employee who constantly challenged my authority. I took the time to understand this employee in meetings, as well as by gathering information from clients and coworkers. I conducted regular meetings with her and brought to her attention some of her greatest strengths and my expectations. I opened the lines of communication with this employee and found that her greatest strength was to help people. I accepted her for her uniqueness and constantly praised her for her great accomplishments. I brought to her attention areas she needed to improve. In the end, it’s a great success story. She has earned my trust, and I trust her ability to represent the organization in a very professional manner. She now takes the lead in team meetings and helps others see their full potential. She is now one of our best team players.