You're in the middle of a conversation with an employee who has traveled outside the bounds of acceptable performance and you are sharing the guidelines yet again. In fact, you are listing those times when this employee has been late, has breeched professional conduct standards or has spread unnecessary gossip and then you hear the words, “Well, what about Suzie? She did the same thing” and you freeze. What do you say? How do you convey credibility and keep the conversation on track?
The words are “that is outside the scope of this conversation.” Simple, poignant and not stifling. The rude response would not gain you any respect and possibly start a conflict; the passive response would not get you forward in the conversation and would stifle progress where you stood; the phrase above simply paints a box around the conversation that you can define and stick within. You may have to repeat it, but a series of repetitions nonetheless would not squash the spirit of the one who hears them. Contagious Confidence means you maintain yours and avoid taking away it away from others. Everything you do rubs off on others, including your confidence and the way you portray it. In disciplinary conversations, the behavior is the issue, theirs and not others’, yet yours does not go unnoticed and must maintain a sense of credibility and professionalism. Stay Contagious!