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The last post focused on why supervisors are hesitant to discuss poor performance with employees and how to get past it.  Now you’re ready to take action and talk to the employee, right?

If that thought leaves you speechless, let me share some thoughts on where to start.

Be Clear

In all my years of giving feedback and helping others give feedback, I’ve learned what the top things to focus on are.  This post will cover the first: being clear.

At the end of the last article, I suggested writing down specifically what the person is doing versus what they should be doing.  Review your notes to determine exactly what you want the person to do differently.

The Critical Few

Boil it down to the bare bones to make it simple; both for you to explain and for the employee to understand. 3 areas for improvement.

There’s a tendency to throw everything but the kitchen sink in as evidence of what a bad job the person is doing.  This is simply too emotionally overwhelming.  The person won’t be able to absorb it all.

Also, improvement will happen quicker if there is focus on the critical few things.  Lastly, you’ll be perceived as nit-picking or that you are “out to get” the person if you pile it on too thick.

None of these are the results you want.  Avoid the temptation and stick to the big issues.

Questions to Ponder

What are the most critical issues for the business?  Where are the places where if strides are made, performance would be satisfactory?  Which are the areas where you can see the employee has untapped potential? Does he/she have strength in another area that can be used to improve performance in this area?

Once you’ve narrowed it down, it might sound like: come in on time every day, be pleasant to the customers consistently, or turn reports in by the 15th of every month. The issues need to be clear in your mind so you can focus on how you will deliver the message.

Clarity is King

Improving employee performance is your responsibility as a supervisor.  The first step to improvement is giving people feedback so they are aware there’s an issue.

Doing this well will mean the difference between a high functioning team and a mediocre team.  It will determine your level of success as a supervisor.

Clarity is key to successfully communicating in any situation, and coaching employees is no different.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences! Please post them below.

Remember to check back over the next few weeks.  The next several posts will describe the other keys I’ve discovered to successfully giving employees feedback.


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