Leading difficult people: Slumped Susan
Here’s a truth that I’ve believed for a long time: Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. If a leader has no one following, he’s only taking a walk.
Of course, not everyone is easy to influence. Some followers are difficult to connect with. Last week we talked about the art of influencing difficult people, with a focus on Fearful Fred. With Fred, the goal was to get him started, to go from no momentum to sustained growth.
But what happens when a follower who had a great deal of momentum begins to fall behind? What does a leader do when this follower stumbles or stops altogether?
Let me introduce you to Slumped Susan. This is the follower who was a good performer, someone who got results and approached her tasks with enthusiasm. But somewhere on the journey, she fell off the tracks. Now, with no momentum or confidence, she’s barely moving.
Just like last week’s Fearful Fred, leading Slumped Susan requires you to understand her, be willing to listen, and give her the tools to grow. If Susan believes that you support and believe in her, she’ll be more likely to start moving forward again.
Understanding Slumped Susan:
- Attitude: Depression
- Motivated by: Coaching
- Strength: Past Success
- Weakness: Pessimism
Listening to Slumped Susan:
- Privately sit down and discuss her slump.
- Let her talk about the good old days.
- List what she did when things went bad.
- List what she did when things went well.
- If she desires to change, develop a game plan.
Leading Slumped Susan:
- Remove her from others while she’s in the slump.
- Reprioritize her workload.
- Remain with her as much as possible.
- Require her to do what is right, not what she wants to do.
- Remember to encourage her as much as possible.
Read The Winning Attitude together
Are you a Slumped Susan? Or do you lead one? With coaching and positive attention from the leader, Susan can regain her confidence and begin to shine again.
Next time: Excited Eddie
Leave a Comment