Confront Poor Performance

Giving criticism about unsatisfactory aspects of performance can be one of the most difficult tasks you have to face. It can be difficult because many people equate performance of the job with their competence as a person.

When done badly it will increase the frequency and intensity of what you want to change.

Talking about unsatisfactory aspects of performance can be one of the most difficult tasks you have to face (true both of giving and receiving criticism). It can be difficult because many people equate performance of the job with their competence as a person.

Because of the above, you may have had bad experiences in this area, so that now you either:

* avoid raising the particular criticism, or raise it tentatively

* work yourself into a state so that you raise the issue in an abrupt or heavy handed way.

In either case the required change in that person’s performance may not come about or, if it does, it is accompanied by some undesirable changes, such as:

‘OK, if that’s what you want me to do in future, I’ll do it.

(Unsaid ‘….. but don’t expect me to help out next time you’ve got a rush on.’)

We stress that giving criticism is NOT an end in itself, it is a MEANS of achieving a change in the way a person carries out a particular aspect of the job.

You are more likely to achieve this end if you make your criticism assertively. You can begin by ensuring you have your and other person’s Rights in balance.

Rights Involved…

In order to give criticism effectively you need to accept:

Your Rights

  • to have staff work to an agreed standard
  • to change their behaviour to achieve that standard

Other person’s Rights

  • to know the standard that is required
  • to question their behaviour but not their personality

Beforehand

1. Check your thinking is correct

I’m disappointed about the mistakes, but it’s not disastrous. I can raise

this in a matter of fact way with Jean.

2. Check your criticism is SPECIFIC i.e. about Jean’s behaviour

(a) What is the Jean doing or not doing that causes a problem for

me or others?

Over the last few weeks Jean has failed to put charge codes on the invoice and record changes in customer orders. This has meant we have wasted hours at month end trying to reconcile our figures.

During

3. INTRODUCE topic and, if appropriate, say WHY you want to raise the issue

Jean, I’d like to talk to you about a number of the invoices you’ve completed this week.

4. Make your SPECIFIC CRITICISM

I’ve noticed that number of them do not have the appropriate charge codes that enable final payment. We have had to spend a number of hours at month’s end trying to rectify this.

5. Get a RESPONSE to your criticism

‘What’s causing this?’

6. Ask for SUGGESTIONS to bring about change What ideas do you have, how you can avoid…?’

‘How can you go about making improvements?’

‘What changes need to be made?

7. SUMMARISE the suggestions to be actioned

‘So let’s agree that next time you’ll….’

‘So do you agree that in future you’ll…’

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