By Dr. Jan Ferri-Reed
Performance review discussions can be tricky. It’s rather uncomfortable to hear your own shortcomings. It’s also uncomfortable to be delivering the “bad news.” But there are some things that a manager should NEVER do during an appraisal discussion, including the following:
Don’t Rely On Generalities
Don’t tell employees that “they always do something wrong” or that they “never do anything right.” Focus instead on specific examples of what your employees did or did not do.
Don’t “Gang Up” on your Employee
Using expression like ‘you always,” “you never,” or “everybody says” won’t fly with most workers. Generalized feedback almost always makes employees defensive and they may reject any suggestions for improvement.
Don’t Threaten Your Subordinates
Telling an employee they must “shape up or ship out” is not going to win you any points. People don’t respond well to threats to stick to giving fair and balanced feedback.
Don’t “Gloss Over” Performance Problems
Everyone knows there are problems and conflict in even the best-run organizations. Pretending that everything is “A-OK” creates a false sense of security. That can backfire on you if the performance problems become widespread.
Don’t Talk “Down” to Your Employees
Treating employees like they are “problem children” or idiots won’t lead to better performance or happiest employees. Always approach review as members of the same team. When you blame problems on the employee you’re not going to make much progress towards improving performance.
Don’t Make Accusations
Accusing your employees of bad performance or outright sabotage will create a hostile atmosphere. That makes it very hard to convince improvement is in their best interests and could ruin overall morale.
Jan is a seasoned consultant and President of KEYGroup®, a 35-year international speaking, training, coaching and assessment firm and co-author of Keeping the Millennials: Why Companies are Losing Billions in Turnover to This Generation and What To Do About It, and the author of Millennials 2.0: Empowering Generation Y. Jan’s work focuses on creating productive workplaces and retaining talent while increasing the bottom line.
Publications and media that have called on Jan and KEYGroup® for advice and guidance include Industry Week, TIME, Diversity Executive, NPR and Forbes, to name a few.