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What Do You Do When Employees Deviate from the Development Plan?

Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development strategist who shares the tools and techniques to actually lead so you don’t become a manager who was promoted, but not prepared.

You’ve shared the plan but what do you do if an employee doesn’t follow it?

When I was a child I learned to cook at about the age of six. My first dish was scrambled eggs and I was fascinated by how it all worked from the stove to the change in the eggs. Okay, so that’s a weird revelation, but often the lessons of employees are similar to what we learn as children and my first lesson in cooking was just how hot the stove really was. I was told and told, but had to see it for myself. In other words, I deviated from the plan before me that would keep me safe.

If those employees for whom you develop well intended development plans, deviate from those plans, what do you do? First, ensure these guidelines are met and then recognize that some still will have to TOUCH the “Stove” to know that it’s hot.

–          Make sure the consequences are relevant to them

–          Make sure the rewards for fulfilling the plan are relevant to them

–          Make sure there is enough motivation for them to follow the plan

–          Reexamine their trust in your guidance

–          Consider reevaluating the plan

Life experiences will often dictate how closely we follow the guidance of others. SO will trust and the rapport you’ve built with that team member. A deviation from your plan isn’t always about you the leader, but may indicate a lack of buy in, a stubborn streak, or a need for you to reevaluate the formulation of said plan.

What do you do when this happens? Take another look and provide support if they chose to learn the hard way that this is the plan that will work. If they get burned, soothe it and be there. Don’t utter words like “I told you so” unless you want to repeat this process and continue to motivate a deterioration of trust.

The best laid plans…well, aren’t always followed, but the best leaders recognize the root cause or problem and are persistent and flexible in their approach. Stay tuned on Friday for a great example of such flexibility and share your experiences with us. You might find them showcased in an upcoming Monday Moment. Tweet us, follow or share your thoughts on Facebook at

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Stay Contagious!


Monica Wofford

Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.

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Monica Wofford

Named one of Meetings and Conventions Magazine’s FAVORITE SPEAKERS! She’s been seen on CNN and FOX and has spoken in 25 countries! Monica Wofford is an internationally acclaimed leadership development expert who engages audiences and teaches them how to become better leaders. Learn more about how to book Monica as your next keynote speaker.

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