7 Powerful Performance Conversation Starters
Have performance conversations so frequently that they feel natural.
Repetition builds confidence and culture.
Cheer, clap, and pat:
If you wait until something goes wrong to give positive feedback, it’s too late. I’m referring to practice of sandwiching negative feedback between two slices of positive feedback – the sh*t sandwich.
Performance conversations feel like punishment if you wait for failure to have them.
Honor what you want. Do you want energy? Cheer when you see it. Do you want responsibility? Clap when people take it.
Don’t make people feel they’ve arrived. Invite them to believe they can reach higher.
7 powerful performance conversation starters:
#1. Evaluate processes or systems.
- What’s running smoothly?
- Where are you solving the same problem over and over?
#2. Discuss results.
- What have you achieved that makes you proud?
- What could have been better?
#3. Analyze decisions.
- What decisions didn’t happen that caused disappointing results?
- What decisions preceded good results?
#4. Explore relationships.
- Where are the pockets of positive energy in your area?
- Where is the negative energy?
#5. Look for Fulfillment.
- What brings you satisfaction at work?
- Where are you disappointed with yourself?
- What’s frustrating? What does that say about you?
#6. Investigate development.
- What skills are you improving?
- What skills would you like to improve?
#7. Uncover learning – provide time for reflection.
- What are you learning about your role?
- What are you learning about yourself?
- What are you learning about your team?
Seek lots of feedback if you expect to give lots of feedback.
Invite people to evaluate your performance.
- Don’t ask, “How am I doing?” That’s useless.
- Declare intention. “I’m working on building positive energy on the team.”
- Ask for specific feedback. “What do you see me doing that builds positive energy? Drains it?”
- Be thankful.
- Explore behaviors that better express your intentions. “What suggestions might you have?”
How might leaders establish performance conversation rituals?
What makes performance conversations fail? Successful?
Excellent and simply put, Dan. Thanks. I am actually going to blog about some of these things around the Disruptive Engagement theme we have been framing.
All of us need to understand that people DO want to fix things in their workplaces and that they do have ideas. Use that as momentum to build process-improvement teams or best-practice sharing teams. Give them some TIME to make things better instead of simply expecting changes. People want to grow. And they want to be able to trust and respect their leadership.
Help them rise.
Thanks Dr. Scott. The more time goes by the more I realize how important it is to believe in the people we work with. It’s hard for us to trust someone who doesn’t believe in us.
Another wonderful post. You have actually touched the base. One of my difficulty in daily routine has been,
1. How to not to micromanage and trust people if they are not rising up to your organisational expectations ?
2. How to make them feel comfortable and believing in us ?
3. How to get yourself convinced that the team mates are actually working in the best interest of your Company ?
Thanks Dan! Declaring intentions and discussing those intentions frequently, keeps the team and leadership in the same direction. Are those intentions in alignment to our goals and mission? We call them “touching basis” weekly and formal “Check Ups” twice a year. We keep the conversation going constantly not just about our roles in the work world but also personally! We care about each person who works for us and relationships can’t be built if there is silence or negative energy. We are intentional in communicating often, developing relations and providing learning opportunities for our teams. We want our teams to trust our leadership and we try to be mindful as to how we lead. Awesome information!
Thanks Wanda. We need more “care” in leadership. We need to dare to care and dare to express it.
When you bring care to the mix, performance conversations take on an exciting form.
Well said, Dan — simply keying on the 7 lead words; Evaluate, Discuss, Analyze, Explore, Look, Investigate & Uncover is a good way to focus your day — thanks!
Thanks Mark. Glad you noticed the verbs. Leadership is about action! Best wishes
Great topic today, as they are every day, excellent comments as well, just remember “who butters your bread”! Work as a team, delegate, clarify, perform, enhance, complete.
Thanks Tim. If we can succeed on our own, we aren’t leading. 🙂
There was an opportunity for me earlier this year, that not everyone on our team initially thought was a good idea. Someone finally asked, why would you want to consider that? Once I relayed my personal growth intentions, a shift occurred and feedback directed toward the objective came. I’m learning how to state intentions first before asking, “what do you think about?”
Brilliant John. It’s easy to slip into the generic feedback mode. Sprinkle some intention into the mix and the quality goes way up. Thanks for sharing your experience.
This is another great post from you, Dan. It’s indeed amazing how our words can make or break someone. Words are really powerful enough to change something or someone and I think it’s really important that we know how to use them/converse in a way that can be of positive effect to others.
You summarized key points very simply! Great job, thank you Dan!