Spring is the season for reporting on performance. It seems to me empathy is the key to influencing others to help us with our performance goals during the coming year.
Drawing on an existing stock of empathy could make the difference to you, if you break out in a sweat at the thought of approaching a good team member who is suddenly producing sub-par work.
Leaders Set The Tone For Their Team
If you have already established an empathic / supportive relationship with your team you have an advantage. The door is already partly open to difficult conversations.
You can now use the stock of trust you have built up to go into potentially uncomfortable territory when speaking with team members (you might want to start being more empathic if you are starting from a low base).
3 Useful Performance Questions
From personal experience performance conversations involve being a bit vulnerable yourself. You aren’t looking to beat anyone up. You are helping yourself by accepting your feelings of discomfort and focusing on helping someone perform better.
Here are 3 discussion openers which might help you get your colleague engaged in finding solutions, as part of a constructive performance improvement conversation
- It has been a while since our last review, how are things with you workwise?
- I’ve noticed that X seems to be happening with your work, that’s not like you. Can you say what’s happening there?
- What more can I do to help you produce different results?
Open questions prompt the listener to think of a full response, since a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer doesn’t fit. Empathy, Thought and Action should feed into your conversation and the ones which follow to help your colleague improve their results.
Feel Free To Continue This Conversation And Share It With Friends
Why not use the Comment section to share the approaches have you used to successfully support performance improvement.
How did you help your member of staff produce good or excellent results, after a temporary downturn?
If you were the one being helped how did your boss’s approach help you move forward? Did they offer to help you, or take a confrontational approach?
For an overview of the effects on performance of feeling overwhelmed at work please follow this link