My employee is very “slippery.” When I confront this person about performance issues, there is always an excuse, another angle, or some little truth in the rebuttal that causes me to back down. Either I am not assertive enough, not as smart, or too easily swayed. How do I win this game?
It isn’t necessary to outsmart your employee. Don’t focus on quality of work or technical aspects of the job yet, but the attitude demonstrated by the employee in response to confrontations or corrective interviews you conduct with the person. What you need from your employee is cooperation with your role. This means responding to your confrontations with a sincere desire to discover what is important to you and not to do battle in an effort to dodge whatever point you are trying to make. Until this mindset of your employee changes, other issues of a more practical nature will fail to be corrected. There may be some need for you to be more assertive, but it is much more likely that the missing piece here is to help your employee see that his or her perspective prompts an inappropriate response that interferes with productivity.