Performance conversations are often a source of stress and anxiety for managers and business owners. These conversations can be challenging – especially when an employee’s performance is less than desirable. These conversations can range from little things, like reminders to be at work on time or can be bigger concerns around repeatedly not meeting expectations. We would classify these as ‘difficult conversations’.
What is a difficult conversation?
A difficult conversation is one in which the needs, wants, opinions or perceptions of involved parties are diverse. Often, emotions are running high, and these situations can be sources of conflict if not approached in the right way.
So, what can you do to make these ‘difficult conversations’ easier? Today’s blog will discuss a few things to keep in mind when approaching performance conversations – the Who,
Why, When, Where & How.
The Who – Knowing your Employee
One of the first questions to ask yourself is – who am I meeting with? Knowing your employee will go a long way to setting up your conversation for success. A few things to consider:
-How do they like to receive feedback?
-What have they been successful at recently? What have they been working on? This can help to frame the conversation within the context of the bigger picture.
Clarifying your own thoughts, position and reasoning on the topic helps you to clarify why you’re having this conversation and will help you to stay on track and focused. It also helps you to avoid emotion-fuelled statements that may increase tension within the conversation.
The When & Where
Deciding when and where to have the conversation can have an important impact on setting both you and your employee up for success. In terms of where to have the conversation, you will want to aim for somewhere private, where you won’t be interrupted by others and somewhere where both you and your employee will be comfortable. As for when to have the conversation, depending on the content and urgency, you will want to ask your self – do you want to have this conversation at the start or end of the day? At the beginning or end of the week?
Perhaps most importantly, you want to consider how best to have the performance conversation with your employee. You want to structure your conversation so that they can hear you and be receptive to the feedback. A few things to consider:
Feedback and performance conversations can be difficult for employers and managers to approach. However, by keeping in mind the who, why, when, where & how, you can work to make these situations easier to approach.