LSA Global Insights Newsletter: How to Drastically Improve Difficult Performance Conversations

October 26, 2019

How to Drastically Improve Difficult Performance Conversations

Difficult Performance Conversations Are No Fun
Most managers (including me) dread difficult performance conversations with their direct reports and are willing to try almost anything to avoid them. Whether it is delivering bad news, discussing sensitive subjects, or firing an employee, the most upsetting performance conversations are the ones that evoke anger, yelling, accusations, defensiveness or tears. 

As appealing as it may be to avoid a potential confrontation with a coworker, we have found that high performing team leaders face these conversations without dread. They are adept at managing conflict in a way that creates clarity, trust, and accountability. What do they do differently? .

There Are Countless Tools and Techniques Available
There are countless performance communication tools and techniques available to help make performance management discussions better. They range from better listening, to being more empathetic, to being more direct.  Used correctly, they can all help make difficult conversations about performance more productive.

The Six Most Common Difficult Performance Conversation Mistakes
When we ask employees to list the most frustrating and ineffective aspects of ineffective performance conversations at work, six rise to the surface:
  1. Oversimplifying the issue
  2. Not showing enough respect
  3. Getting too personal
  4. Not gathering enough data
  5. Making bad assumptions
  6. Not having enough empathy or compassion
The True Root Cause - Bad Performance Expectations
Avoiding these common mistakes will certainly help. But we find that they often do not address the root cause of most difficult performance conversations - a lack of clear performance expectations.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned