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Don’t become a mealy-mouth

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

It’s just too tempting to make your words purposely unclear.

You might allow underperformers to stay on the payroll without ever telling them what you want or expect. You might even pat them on the back. But that kind of dishonesty hurts the whole enterprise.

You might dodge your shortcomings, dawdle about reporting bad news, hold out hope for a deal long after it’s dead, or use excuses such as “I was wrong, but so was everybody else” or “I’m not at liberty to say.”

In explaining your organization’s poor performance, you might fall into mumbo-jumbo. A typical example: “Results were negatively impacted by reduced revenues and substantial costs incurred as a result of rumors and misleading media reports….” Another common scapegoat is the marketplace, but remember: You can blame new competitors or rising labor costs, but everybody else deals with those, too. Why are they winning?

Bottom line: Ask yourself these questions, then state the facts clearly: What’s going on? What should be happening? What’s the standard or goal? What changes need to happen? Who needs to take action?

—Adapted from The Voice of Authority: 10 Communication Strategies Every Leader Needs to Know, Dianna Booher, McGraw-Hill.

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