Conversations aboutare hard—and few people actually enjoy offering negative feedback. However, avoiding corrective feedback sessions can hurt the productivity and morale of the whole team.
Avoidance is not the answer, so if you find yourself doing any of the following, stop what you are doing and schedule a performance feedback session immediately:
Filling in for employees rather than training them to improve. Many managers blame a lack of time for their failure to correct performance issues. However, doing so helps no one because you aren’t coaching the employee to improve and you’re wasting your time on a job you shouldn’t be doing.
Sneaking around hoping to catch someone in the act. If an employee’s performance is slipping, you shouldn’t need to find evidence to build your case. Discuss what you have already observed, and ask for improvements.
Making excuses. Granted, weak performers may be going through a rough time at home, or they may be struggling to deal with new policies or procedures. Still, they must meet the expectations of the job. Empathize with them, but also set expectations for improvement. Otherwise, it may take far too long for them to get back on track on their own.
Doing anything to keep the peace. Perhaps you always agree with them or don’t provide negative feedback because you fear an outburst. Or you only communicate electronically and avoid them in the hallways to avoid conflict. That is no way to spend your days at work, so muster up the courage to address the behavior and set expectations for going forward.
— Adapted from “10 Signs You are Avoiding Difficult Performance Conversations,” Marlene Chism, www.marlenechism.com.