33: Managing Performance Issues with Josh Magsam

33: Managing Performance Issues with Josh Magsam

Josh Magsam uses skills learned in academia to coach and plan for performance improvements.


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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 33 of the customer support leaders podcast. 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’d like to welcome Josh Magsam. Josh, can you introduce yourself?

Josh Magsam 0:38
Yes, thanks. I’m Josh. I’m currently Senior Director of partner operations at PartnerHero. I’ve been there for about the past year, and I’ve been in operations and support management for about the last six years following a stint in academia.

Charlotte Ward 0:54
Thanks, Josh. So the topic for this week is managing performance issues. And I’d love to hear, what specific stories or advice you have in this area? How do you get by with managing those very difficult situations?

Josh Magsam 1:07
You know, there’s a few things that I’ve taken away because I’ve done some situations well, and I’ve done some situations, not so well. It’s a two-way street. I find that it’s certainly true of myself but other managers and leaders that I’ve talked to, I think, tend to fall into a similar line of thought particularly early on in their career, and that is, gosh, I’m coaching someone’s performance. And if they fail, I have failed to, but I can look back at cases and understand where, you know, someone on the other side, the person I was managing the same effort wasn’t being put into it by both parties. And I’ve seen situations where managers didn’t really put enough effort into coaching performance issues, but to be honest, that’s rare. I think a lot of the managers I work with, they’re very passionate about helping their people And again, I think even more so early on. You know, I had a chat with a very junior manager a number of years ago, who said, I’m going to keep my team together, I’m not going to lose anyone, no one in this team’s is going to fail. And that was just too much of a weight to put on themselves, because you’re dealing with other human beings.

Charlotte Ward 2:19
There’s a lot of variables, right?

Josh Magsam 2:21
Yeah. And they make their own decisions. I know, a lot of people who will kind of behind the scenes sort of go, oh, gosh, a PIP, well, this isn’t going to end well as it right we’ve gotten here. And now this is just sort of the final slide to the inevitable, but I’ve seen some people pull out of those. And that’s because they wanted to pull out of those. They took that feedback and it had to be presented well and it had to be presented when with empathy, but also professionalism and clarity as good objective critique, not, you know, personal feedback, but the credit really goes to those people for saying hey, I am Taking this feedback, I understand there’s things I need to improve. And they wanted to learn and to grow even beyond sort of the gut check fear of, gosh, I might lose my job. They were thinking I need to grow. And this is something I’ve come up before. And I will talk maybe about one case: it was my first case and that I ever dealt with. And first time I put someone on a PIP. We’ve had a lot of communications issues, and it kind of reached a head and there’s a quite a few people that were upset. You know, it was an academic I was a teacher. So I put together what was mostly a lesson plan more so than a PIP. And right away, I saw this person’s commitment. They were coming back in every week, having prepared and knowing where their numbers were and knowing what they needed to talk about, right, and making real strides. And so at the end of it, it was a no brainer, there wasn’t a question, should we sign off on this or Well, how much this Did you get done. Continued to show that sense of you know, I learned that valuable lessons there, there’s feedback I needed to hear.

Charlotte Ward 4:03
I think it’s interesting that you refer to it contextually there is a lesson plan, it kind of speaks a lot to the coaching aspect of a PIP or any or any performance conversation. Right. And, and I think also that ties into one of the earlier elements, you talked about that clarity, you know, that actually when you are having these conversations around performance, that you have to be really specific. Otherwise, it can be even if it is not actually it can certainly be perceived to be personal.

Josh Magsam 4:35
That’s, that’s a great point. It’s, it is still part of that person wanting to embrace change. But the way the message is carried is is a large part of it. If If you both got your boxing gloves on going into the conversation, you know, it’s going to end poorly. If you come in and say, genuinely, hey, I want to help you succeed here and Yes. Is this clear to you? Or do you understand the objectives?

Charlotte Ward 5:03
I think also that clarity engages people more anyway. So you do get that buy-in from the person who needs who has the work to do. Don’t you get an and that builds the effort on both sides? I think that clarity?

Josh Magsam 5:17
Yeah, absolutely. You both should know what needs to happen. And next steps, you should both leave that conversation, knowing what needs to be accomplished by the next conversation whether its the next day or the next week or the next month. You know, that’s you have to have a little bit of flexibility to understand that the landscape may shift. And I’ve seen plenty of cases where a manager puts together a really good plan. And about halfway through there, they’re sort of going Gosh, this person is just not it’s not coming together, right. I want to see them succeed. They’re just not executing on this. What do I do? One of the hard lessons is, there’s only so much you can do. And a lot of those cases it’s actually just the person the other side is just not willing to commit, they’re checked out. Or they’re really, there’s something else going on? And this isn’t the job, the organisation, what have you for them in the long run?

Charlotte Ward 6:11
Or simply just the right time. I mean, you know, there are a lot of factors there.

Josh Magsam 6:15
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Charlotte Ward 6:16
You’re right. You’re right. I think that that buying from both parties is really important. But actually, sometimes you get to the point where if you’re having those conversations, and for whatever reason, you’re not aware of all of the factors that have led to that point that it doesn’t always set it up well to succeed as a process. That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/33 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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