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Giving Feedback On Poor Performance
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Receiving feedback is one of the things we should all look forward to at work so we understand whether or not there are areas and skills we still need to work on. That said, giving feedback is yet another important task we should undertake whether we are employees or managers. You want to make sure that your colleague delivered exactly what you are looking for, and you owe it to yourself and to your future tasks that things get done right the next time.

A positive performance is easy enough to praise. You can tell someone that he or she did a good job without going into specifics, and he or she will be pleased. However, to ensure maximum results, you need to mention exactly what was done right. What is more difficult is giving feedback on poor performance. How do you even begin to give your comments on a task that was poorly done? How do you say them without being offensive? Can you really give negative feedback without damaging your professional relationship? Is it possible to just let it slide and hope that the other person does better next time?

The answer to the last question is no, you can't. You may be protecting the other person's feelings, but continued poor performance will hurt your company in the long run. It's best to nip that in the bud while it's still early. Here are some guidelines on getting ready to give feedback on poor performance.

1. On your own, you should identify and compare the results and the expectations that were not meant. This will help you explain your side better to your employee.

2. Identify and describe the consequences of the poor results and performance on the team and on the company.

3. Formulate a strategy for improving employee performance or for conducting a coaching session with the employee.

These steps are only the first phase of the process of giving performance feedback and will help you be more specific when you finally get the chance to speak with the employee in question. You can't just say that the employee performed poorly--he or she will want to know where he or she went wrong.

Once you've completed all the above steps, it's time for you to call the employee for a private meeting. During your discussion, make sure that you are frank and straight to the point, and that you are focusing only on the performance in question, not in the employee's personality or general work habits (unless there is a real problem, in which case a different technique is needed). Make sure your comments don't get personal, and that you clearly express that you want to help him or her improve his or her performance or provide coaching when needed. You can also get your employee to work with you in finding a solution, and perhaps ask him or her for ideas on how best to improve or rectify any errors if that option is still available to you.

Remember that your goal here is to improve work performance and not criticize the employee. Therefore, you should ensure that your efforts are constructive and positive. In addition, no matter how poorly the employee performed, that is certainly not an excuse for you to complain to your own colleagues. Laying blame is the last thing you should do, and you do not want to paint your employees in a negative light.


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