The Positive Impact of Performance Discussions
According to research employees hate performance reviews and love performance discussions. Why? Because leaders engage their employees face to face on a regular basis not just once or twice a year.
The media asked the late Sam Walton of Wal-Mart (when the company was rapidly expanding) why he spent only one day a week in his office, and the rest of the time in stores with employees or customers. He replied that he knew that was too much time in the office. However, he could learn to do better. If you are not meeting with employees in regular monthly performance discussions, you are missing a key opportunity to positively influence them. Furthermore, you miss critical “moments of truth” that increase their productivity and well being while improving their results.
The Biggest Objection to Performance Discussions
The biggest objection managers give about performance discussions involves the time. Three key resources make up a business: capital, material, and human. People are the most important part because they creatively put the other resources to work. The question arises why wouldn’t a manager want to invest time in people? Let us say you have seven people on your team. So, you do seven one-on-one performance discussions a month. Therefore, that equals about 3-4 hours a month. Not even a half a day a month. Is that too much to ask? Remember, their success equals your success.
For example, one business we worked with highlighted this dilemma. After talking to employees and spending time in their work areas, they asked us to get their manager to “listen to us and see what we are trying to do.” They said he spent all day sending out inflammatory emails and creating reports in minutia. They wanted him to open his office door and engage the team daily to see what was happening and to be of help. Furthermore, they hoped he would meet with them one-on-one to talk about things.
Benefits of Performance Discussions
Performance discussions mirrors high performance coaching that benefit any employee for these reasons.
- Promotes positive communication.
- Establishes an open dialogue that elevates trust and mutual feedback.
- Creates a working partnership.
- Supports effective performance management and productivity.
- Creates an atmosphere for trust and continuous improvement.
- Provides opportunity for training.
- Focuses on career development for the future.
How do you do a one on-one-performance discussion? Conduct them monthly. And they last around 15-30 minutes. Each begins with a warm friendly greeting, and general communication about how things are going. Next, is specifically about goals/expectations, plans, problems, and solutions. You ask the employee to analyze their results first. Certainly, you give employees praise about their positive results and establish performance issues clearly and directly.
Also, you need to give feedback, it is the breakfast of champions. Why? Positive feedback reinforces the right behaviors and constructive developmental feedback will help the employee make corrective actions for improved behavior. For example:
Positive feedback: Samantha I compliment you Sue for your participation in the meeting today. You were well prepared and answered questions knowledgeably. Your PowerPoint was clear, readable, and entertaining. You covered the three key areas of our plan that we needed to discuss. Thank you for your professionalism.
Constructive feedback: Bob, tell me your assessment of your customer call? Good. Notice as I comment where we agree and where I have a different view. Here are three things I thought you did well… In addition, consider this area I thought you could have been more effective. You interrupted the customer twice. You got agitated and started talking louder as he explained his problem. How might you have handled this better?
Pulling It All Together
In conclusion, your goal in a performance discussion involves designing communication that supports a positive employee mindset. In addition, elevates the employee’s capability to perform at a high level independently. Just like an athlete gets better with consistent sports coaching over many practices, one-on-one performance discussions are a coaching technique that pays off over time.
In summary, the positive impact of performance discussions evolves from repetition and reinforcement. This iterative process allows for and will help sustain performance gains. Remember, leadership is about positive influence that solidifies a trusting relationship. When this happens, performance soars.
Also, are you committed to your team’s success? If so, see this complimentary Coaching for Results eBook.
In addition, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website. Over 130 micro-learning and career development resources at your fingertips!
Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? Go here for Rick’s Superstar Leadership eBook.