Over the past 20+ years, countless managers have confessed to me that they dread having these discussions. Some hate the entire process.
It’s completely understandable though-for so many reasons!
Any leader who’s had tough experiences in the past could certainly dread this responsibility.
Perhaps a direct report got angry or broke out in tears, or an individual said three words for the entire 60 minutes, or even they looked confused throughout the conversation.
These experiences are not enjoyable and when we feel incompetent, it can be embarrassing to admit.
The Right Tools
One small tool that’s super useful, is to identify and remove habitual language that contributes to confusion or frustration during these important conversations.
For example, nearly every leader I’ve worked with has a habit of saying “I think.”
This is particularly confusing and counterproductive when communicating someone’s performance evaluation.
“Sam, I think you’ve met the expectations on these parts of your performance, but…”
“Bobbi, you’ve been doing a great job on your project, but I think you’re performing poorly in your core duties.”
If you want to feel more confident and be more effective in conducting performance reviews, using clear, accurate language is a fantastic start!