Ensure staff applies your feedback

Make sure employees walk away from performance conversations, feeling confident and knowing exactly how to meet your expectations. Follow this advice:

During your opening statement: Instead of starting off with “This is what I need you to do,” say “What would you like to discuss first?” That offers employees a chance to talk about any problems or concerns they have, either of which could explain a performance slip or behavioral issue. If you jump right into explaining what they are doing wrong, they may become defensive or tune you out.

When discussing a problem: Instead of saying “What obstacles or challenges are hurting your performance?” say “How is the project going so far?” Offer them an opportunity to bring up issues first. If they don’t, you can then point out what you have observed and have them weigh in. This approach is more positive and encourages the employee to engage in a dialogue that will lead to problem solving.

To conclude the meeting: Instead of suggesting that you “Follow up soon,” say “We’ll meet on to discuss your progress.” That ensures that you actually follow up and provides the employee with a benchmark for improvement.

— Adapted from “Giving a Performance Review? Avoid These Phrases,” Jennifer Post, Business News Daily, www.businessnewsdaily.com.

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