It May Be For Reasons You Haven”t Thought About – Part 2 of 2
Guest Post by Chad O”Connor, Communication Consultant & Adjunct Professor
In continuing from the previous installments of my guest blogs for NPTB we were discussing some issues surrounding how to give a bad performance review. And now for a few quick strategies on how to get that difficult message across.
1. Don”t make it personal. Focus on the problem and not the person, even if the person”s personality is the problem. For instance, instead of saying “You unnecessarily yell at the secretaries for mistakes they didn”t even make and problems beyond their control. You have to stop it,” you could say “It”s not good for our organization to have our secretaries unnecessarily yelled at for mistakes they didn”t even make and problems beyond their control. We need you to take a deep breath and consider other possibilities before taking complaints to them.” By stating it this way it focuses on the problem of the action and a simple way to fix it; it takes it out of the frame of reference of being an immutable problem of personality and with the person him/herself.
2. Don”t give mixed signals. Don”t downplay a problem just because you are uncomfortable with discussing it, as this kind of ambiguity can be worse and leave the recipient confused about just how important the problem really is. It”s far better to get the problem clearly out in the open, but remember to do it in a way that employs the first principle discussed above.
3. Pick the best possible day and time. There is never such a thing as an ideal day and time to spring bad news on someone. But there certainly are better times than others. All days and weeks should have ebbs and flows. Don”t pull the person out of his/her element at a particularly stressful time, as his/her mind will be preoccupied with other things and he/she will be more resentful of the intrusion when trying to get valuable work done. As a general rule, a time with a little less stress will make a person a little more receptive. Just don”t delay this conversation indefinitely, as I had cautioned in my previous blog post.
4. Remind the person of his/her value to the organization. It”s good to point out here that if you didn”t value the person that you”d just let him/her go with minimal reasons given and move on. Close by stressing positive contributions to the organization, but reiterate that there is certainly room for improvement on the key issues while reiterating what those issues are (again, in the spirit of the first point mentioned above).
As always, I welcome your thoughts…
Chad O’Connor has taught communication at Northeastern University and Emerson College in Boston, serves as a connector forBoston World Partnerships, and works with various individuals, companies and nonprofits as a communication consultant on issues such as public speaking, message strategy, and improving organizational communication. Chad can be contacted at his gmail account, firstname.lastname@example.org ,and found on Twitter @chadoconnor.
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- Dreading Giving A Bad Performance Review? (thenon-profittoolbox.com)
- Convincing the Boss to Give you the Resources You Need (Part 4 of 4) (thenon-profittoolbox.com)
Very timely article. I work in IT Telecommunications at a Bank. I’ve been given my first opportunity to mentor a temp, a young Computer Networking Graduate. He’s been with us 2 weeks. The quality of work is repeatedly sloppy and his attitude is poor. I don’t think it’s sunk in that he’s in “mailroom” and not the CEO’s office and in the real world he’s not going to do all the fun skills he learned in school until he proves he understands the basics of the corporate world.
Since we’re going on week two, I’d like to sit down and ask HIM how he thinks things are going? Listen to what HE tells me and address any concerns as they come up. My guess is he thinks he’s doing great and I’ll need for him to illaborate. And then with out personalizing, review areas for improvement. Is this a good approach to speaking with someone so new to the company? Any suggestions of other things I could do or say? Any help is appreciated.
Hi Cathleen –
This is an interesting situation you have here in that you are dealing with a temp and not a regular full time employee. The first thing you’ll want to find out is why is this young man working through a temp agency? If he does not really have any interest in working with your Bank he could simply see it as a stop along the way to collect a paycheck and that’s it. He may not even have admitted this fact to himself yet; he may think everything is fine because he is in essence selectively detached from the situation.
My advice here is to first attempt to find out from him more about him as a person. You say he graduated with a computer networking degree – is he looking to work in that at the bank, or was he just looking to try out a few different kinds of work environments to see what he likes?
You also should ask him to think about his own strengths and weaknesses and to tell you his own assessment. You might be surprised at what you hear.
After that is all on the table you can begin to discuss the performance issues you’ve noted above, again keeping the focus off of him directly and more about the actions themselves [for instance, instead of criticizing him for sloppy work as a generality you might want to focus on specific examples where something was not done well and it had ramifications for others, using it as an opportunity to stress that when he is diligent and gets things done right the first time that the company saves money and can afford to keep him around].
Hope some of those pointers are helpful and best of luck! Let us all know how it turns out.