Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Difficult Performance Conversations

Here is a brief excerpt from an article by Jamie Resker for Halogen Software’s TalentSpace blog. To read the complete article, check out others, learn more about the firm, and sign up for email alerts, please click here.

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There are lots of reasons why managers avoid having difficult performance conversations with their employees. You might also be familiar with, or even guilty of, acting on these ones:

o He’s only got another two years before retirement.
o She can’t change.
o That’s the way he’s always been.
o What if I make things worse?
o It’s a personality issue and it’s not my job to deal with that type of thing.


o We can’t afford to lose her. However, the most contradictory reason to not have difficult performance conversations is:
“We’re a gentle, nice type of place to work and we avoid conflict.”


o “We have people who are underperforming, but we’d rather not have those conversations.”
o “It’s just easier to let the underperformance continue as is; I’ll just focus on my A and B level players.”


o “What would we say and how would the person on the receiving end react? We’d rather not go there.”

Why is claiming to be “nice” instead of dealing with poor performance contradictory?

If the organization was really the nice place it claimed to be, wouldn’t it make more sense to provide early-on and actionable feedback that would help the underperforming employee get back on track?

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

Jamie Resker is the Founder and Practice Leader for Employee Performance Solutions (EPS) and a recognized thought leader and innovator in the area of talent management. Jamie contributes to the Halogen blog best practice insights on the topic of communication and feedback. She holds a BA in Business from Emmanuel College and is an instructor at the Boston University Corporate Education Group. Jamie is also on the faculty for the Northeast Human Resources Association and is an Advisory Board Member for the Institute of Human Resources.

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