The Keys to Successful Performance Conversations
Learn valuable principles to apply to your next performance review in order to create higher levels of trust and ultimately greater performance.
It is likely you have had an experience like this in your past:
You are 8 or 10 or 12 years old. You’ve done something wrong, whether you know it yet or not. You certainly know it after you have been told to “stay after class”, “go to the Principal’s office” or “wait until your Father gets home.”
Whatever the offense, the event goes about the same. You are told what you did, why it is wrong, and what you need to do differently. This wasn’t a conversation – the person in charge informed you of the situation and did most, if not all, of the talking. Whether it came as a surprise or not, the event was difficult, painful and you remember the event, but it isn’t fondly.
Now think about your past performance reviews.
Do any of them resemble, in part or in total, those experiences as a kid? Even if your review was somewhat or largely positive, isn’t there still a similar feel to some of these experiences? There is a judge, an authority figure, and then there is you, listening to the verdict.
Given this, is it any wonder why performance reviews have such a bad name?
Last week’s article entitled “How to Make Every Performance Review More Effective”, shared some very specific tactics in the form of questions to ask during a performance review to engage the performer more. While those questions are extremely valuable and can make a big difference in the effectiveness of performance conversations, this week I want to step back and look at the bigger picture principles that, when applied, will lead to more effective performance conversations every time.
It is these principles that make the questions shared last week work, and when we apply the principles for the right reasons, our results will improve.
Overcoming Past Experience
I opened with the scenarios that I did to make a point. No one comes into their next performance review with a clean slate. We have past experience and it isn’t all rosy. Because of this, specifics tactics might not work perfectly with every person – at least not at first. You are not just changing the way you do reviews; you have to overcome people’s experience first.
That is why the principles I am going to share with you are so important. When you focus on the principles, you will have a better chance of finding approaches to apply those principles in specific situations.
These principles are profoundly powerful. As you apply them with care and practice, you will create more effective performance conversations, higher levels of trust, and ultimately greater performance, which is what you were after in the first place.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. You can learn more about him and a special offer on his newest book, Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a time, at http://RemarkableLeadershipBook.com/bonuses.asp .