Painless Performance Conversations by Marnie E. Green

This article was inspired by Marnie E. Green's Painless Performance Conversations . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


How You Can Have Successful Performance Conversations with Your Employees

“When managers give little or no feedback to employees, four of 10 workers report being actively disengaged.”

As soon as you hire new staffers, begin to have regular conversations with them, regarding their job performance. Idleness never solves anything, and fear is the root cause of your inaction. Learn from an employee what it is like for him or her to work with their peers. If conflict has arisen in the workplace, take care of it immediately.

Though performance conversations can be hard on a manager, well regulated exchanges can make a normally painful discussion positive for both you and your employee. Without feedback, your workers can’t fully meet your expectations. You can bring out the best in your employees by having frequent positive performance conversations.

Keep your meetings informal and conversational. Scaring employees shouldn’t be your goal. Don’t let emotions affect your ability to communicate (if a person annoys you, still remain civil). One conversation probably won’t be enough to solve a problem, so be prepared for follow up meetings. Issues with an employee’s performance at work should be your focus.

You can’t blame an uninformed work force for failing to meet your goals. Use employee handbooks and a written list of your expectations to keep every worker on track. When asking something of your employees, ensure that you are as specific as possible. Give your staffers guidance and constructive feedback.

When dealing with tough situations focus on facts objectively rather than subjectively. Point out a person’s bad behavior rather than a bad attitude. An attitude is intangible, whereas behavior is observable. Ensure that workers are personally accountable for both the good and the bad aspects of their performance. Indicate what employees can do to fix an issue in the future.

You should pick that is free of distractions. Don’t walk into such a meeting with a bad attitude. If you feel gloomy, it is not the best idea to confront somebody’s negative performance that day. Remaining positive keeps fear from dictating your decisions. Use the six following steps to ensure successful performance conversations:

  1. “Explain the situation” – Detail the importance of the employee’s behavior to you and the company.
  2. “Listen and probe” – Determine the root cause of the problem.
  3. “Find agreement” – Allow employees to voluntarily agree to change negative behavior.
  4. “Discuss alternatives” – Ask your worker to devise alternatives.
  5. “Specify the next steps” – Clearly lay out what an employee can do to resolve the issue.
  6. “Express confidence” – Let the employee know that you believe he or she can improve.

Over time, practice your ability to communicate with employees. Observe the behavior of your successful peers. How do they hold performance conversations with their workers? Develop possible scenarios in your head and decide what you would do to address them. Have patience and focus on the issues at hand. By properly preparing, you can successful performance conversations with employees.

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