In my last post I had mentioned about listening to the team members. But once you know their concern, what next? It is equally important to go beyond and address these challenges. 

Here is a 8-step process that one can follow to address concerns from the team members –   

1. Ask – In the one-on-one meeting, ask them what they want, how they want it to be, and what help are they seeking from you. Encourage them to provide suggestions to address the challenge. 

Not that a Leader / Manager doesn’t know what needs to be done in order to resolve the problem, but this 2-way communication has a 4-fold advantage. i – You get new ideas and alternate solutions which you might have not thought of. ii – It gives them an opportunity to share their thoughts and grow as a leader. iii – You would know what they are expecting. vi – Finally you can evaluate their thoughts and ideas and help them progress in the right direction.

2. Provide initial Solution – Guide them with a solution, keeping in mind you are proposing not just a solution for their problem, but something that is an improvement for the overall process. Sometimes it may not be a solution, but just information about the process, culture, limitations, which they need to know.

3. Plan of action – Chalk out action items and the goal that you want to achieve. 

4. Analyze – Identify the best and the alternate ways to address the challenges or the problems. Work towards the action items. Again remember, this is an overall improvement, and should consider not individual needs but overall team and company needs as well.

5. Communicate – Keep the person informed about what actions you are planning, and if it is not something you can share with them, then just tell them that you are working towards it, so they know that you haven’t forgotten about it. 

6. Implement – Execute the solution that you have planned. 

7. Follow-up meeting – Once the action is implemented, or the problem is solved, then follow up with the person again and ask if they see the difference and if their concern is addressed. 

There can be some solutions which might take longer, in which case just check with the person if they are seeing a positive difference and if that is something which addresses their concern. 

This should not be a lengthy meeting unless the person still has challenges or the implemented solution has created secondary problems. In which case, you might want to re-evaluate the solution implemented.  

8. Ask – Finally, to put a closure, ask them again if there is anything else they want you to address. This follow-up is very important and gives them comfort that they can approach you for guidance. Remember a person who is free from non-work concerns is more productive and utilizes the time in completing the actual work (as opposed to solving the problems). 

While all the above points help to address team challenges, make sure you allocate time-frame for it and address it within the planned duration. These should not go un-addressed on the to-do list for a longer duration. 

So next time there is a one-on-one meeting for discussing challenges, make a plan for yourself, set a target date, address the concern and put a closure to it. This gives you a happy and productive team!