31: Managing Performance Issues with Ash Rhodes

31: Managing Performance Issues with Ash Rhodes

Ash Rhodes believes the best approach to managing performance issues is to talk about them in a wider context. 

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Charlotte Ward  0:13  

Hello, and welcome back to the customer support leaders podcast. This is Episode 31 and I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is managing performance. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. Today I welcome back Ash Rhodes to talk about a recent termination on his team. 

Ash Rhodes  0:38  

Someday I will write a book about like the tyranny of metrics and so on. I think that slavish adherence to KPIs in the long term hurts employees, I think that there is a more empathetic way to manage employees that help the company help the employees and Help the customers. If you are not focused entirely on just hitting numbers, the employees are happy and the customers are super happy. And it just, it works better. That said, Sometimes I also have to have these frank conversations with the employees, translate that the CEO has needs for the department. But do it in good language. That’s the job, in my opinion. In this case, he was just not getting the rhythm down. Like he wasn’t communicating well with our customers and they just there was just something about the vibe No matter how much I would like workshop, his tone and everything he like his CSAT ratings were just not there. His productivity was just not there, no matter how much I worked with him and I worked with him. So Much. None of his numbers were coming, coming up. And when numbers are a thing with a boss, it has to be a thing. And honestly, when even if I’m not a numbers person, he is still like an anchor all around the neck of the entire rest of the department, there comes a point where, like, even me not as a numbers person would still be like, dude, you are dragging down the rest of the department. And so I would still be having these conversations with him. And we did we had conversations, every single one on one about like, Okay, this is how you fix it. But if you don’t fix it, we’re going to have to have these more serious conversations.

Charlotte Ward  2:43  

So what’s your cadence for one on ones in that scenario, particularly when there is an issue to be managed? Do you maintain a regular cadence that is just same old same old regardless of the situation for all of your team? Do you up that, do you get other eyes on? How does that work? How do you manage things once before performance becomes an issue?

Ash Rhodes  3:05  

Okay, so no matter what I try and do every other week, once they’re totally on board when they are first starting every week, no matter what, once it starts getting an issue, it’s more than that I try and just check in with them. I try and just instead of setting up every week, because I don’t want them to start getting paranoid, so instead, I just start upping my communication with them. I just am like, hey, just how are you feeling today? I start upping the touches, so that it is not all negative. It is also a lot of positivity. So…

Charlotte Ward  3:42  

And actually, that’s got the added benefit, right of giving you greater visibility to what the influencing factors of that performance issue might be. Yeah, because you get more of a personal conversation going, you know, everybody has a bad day or a bad week, but there might be You know, there are other issues?

Ash Rhodes  4:01  

Exactly. Yeah. And that actually is a good part of what I try and do with my one on ones in general, a lot of people are like, it should only be just about their work or whatever. I try and have it be a very holistic, I don’t want to be their shrink, but if they are, I don’t know if their house is flooded or something like that. I need to know what is going on. So that like, I’m not sitting there piling on, because if their house is flooded, I don’t give a shit about their numbers. I care about their house flooding, I want to give them some time unasked-for time off to go deal with their personal life. I would rather jump into the queue and do their tickets for them, than have them be knee-deep in water trying to hammer out tickets because they think they can’t take time off. We are here for each other as human beings and that’s our responsibility. We should all be working to live and not living to work. That’s the way I look at it.

Charlotte Ward  5:02  

There are a lot of concerns out there around managing that personally, don’t you think? I think that? 

Ash Rhodes  5:09  


Charlotte Ward  5:10  

I mean, not least the fact that every individual that you interact within the workplace is different and has their own boundaries, how much they want to disclose what they want to talk about, you know, it’s every conversation where you’re attempting to make a connection with someone you work with is kind of a high wire act, isn’t it? You’re figuring out those step by step.

Ash Rhodes  5:33  

There is no question about that. And I try and let them dictate what they want that relationship to be, by all means. I will never force anybody during these one-on-ones and like, what’s going on? How can I help you? I don’t say what’s going on in your personal life, just what’s going on. I let them interpret that as being what’s going on in the queue, what’s going on with your computer. What’s going on in your house? If they’re trying to tell me about like, this infection on their foot? Whoah, I don’t need to know. But I want to be available to them to help as much as it’s appropriate. And yes, I will draw that line because I don’t want to know about their feet fungus. But stop trying to hold back a laugh you’re distracting me. But, but you know, you get the picture!

Charlotte Ward  6:28  

I do, I’m just so pleased you picked feet! 

Ash Rhodes  6:31  

You’re welcome!

Charlotte Ward  6:32  

Excellent. So that’s it for today go to customersupportleaders.com/31 for the show notes and I’ll see you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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