If performance management is so essential for employees and managers, why do so many managers avoid doing it, and why are employees scared when they hear they are about to have a performance management conversation?
In this article, you will learn how to give performance feedback that leads to positive results and doesn't end in tears or tantrums.
The goal of giving feedback
One of the most powerful tools any manager or trainer can have is the ability to give constructive performance feedback. Effective feedback helps employees to learn how their attitude, skills and behaviour is impacting their performance, their team and the customers whom they serve.
But too often managers (many without realising it) either fail to provide adequate feedback, or give feedback in a way that demotivates and disengages their team members; this in turn increases the risk of contributing to future poor performance.
The goal of giving feedback is to achieve two things.
- As personal motivation - To motivate employees to continue performing positive behaviours or to choose to change negative behaviour.
- As a learning experience so they can walk away from the conversation knowing what they have done well or where they need to improve.
Giving positive feedback to encourage performance
Giving positive feedback can be something as simple as a ‘thank you, great work’ or a more specific and personal compliment.
Done often this will help to motivate and encourage your team to keep doing good work.
After all, don’t we all like to know when we are doing a good job?
Giving negative feedback to change performance
The challenge of giving negative feedback is that you need to deliver it in a way that helps build and strengthen your relationship with the employee, as well as encouraging them to change their behaviour or attitude. This way the employee understands that the feedback was given to help them and not just as a form of criticism.
The golden rule of giving negative feedback, is that it needs to be done in a engaging conversation, and not just the manager telling the employee what they did or did not do.
The risk of one-way feedback is that because the employee can discuss or defend their actions it increases the likelihood that they will become demotivated and take the feedback as a personal attack.
Hints & Tips
When giving both positive or negative feedback you need to:
- Do it frequently (not just in a monthly one to one or yearly appraisal)
- Do it at the right time (i.e. as soon as possible)
- Do it in person where possible (i.e. have a conversation or pick up the phone)
- Do it in a way that suits the employee (i.e. for positive feedback not everyone likes public displays and accolades, for negative feedback don’t do it in public as it is demeaning to the employee and only discredits your influence with the rest of the team)
- Be consistent (i.e. you need to treat the team the same)
The PEEDA Feedback Model
The PEEDA the performance feedback conversation model is a simple and easy 5 stage model you can use to have a performance management conversation and give both positive and negative performance feedback.
So, let us see how you can use the PEEDA performance feedback model.
Step 1 – Purpose
You begin the conversation by highlighting the purpose of the discussion, this helps explain to the employee WHY you are having the conversation. The purpose also helps to set the tone of the conversation,.
For example, beginning a conversation with
‘I am a little concerned about what happened in that meeting and I want to discuss it with you’
will create a different response to
‘This is the third and final time that I am prepared to talk to you about your aggressive behaviour in the team meetings.'
Highlighting the purpose of the conversation will help to keep the conversation on topic, and anything that is bought up not relating to the purpose can be discussed separately.
Step 2 – Expectations
In the next step, you need to highlight the standards of service or team behaviours that you expect. You can even discuss your feelings about the employee's work or actions.
By discussing the expectations, you create a very clear boundary around the discussion helping to identify what good performance looks like, and how you are measuring their recent performance.
“In team meetings, I expect that all employees have the opportunity to be able to voice their opinions without being yelled at or intimidated”
Step 3 - Examples
The next stage is to provide relevant and recent examples where the employee has demonstrated examples of their performance or behaviour.
You need to use current facts and data that support the discussion. These could be examples of work they have done, feedback from others as well as your observations.
‘I have noticed in the last two team meetings you have responded aggressively when others in the team disagreed with your point of view.'Providing facts helps to focus the discussion on the employee and their performance or behaviour and not them as a person.
Step 4 – Discussion
The discussion phase should be the longest part of the conversation as it allows you and the employee to discuss each of the examples in more detail.
“Can you tell me why you reacted that way?”
we aim to get them to do most of the talking and you do this by asking questions that encourage the employee to think about each example in 3 ways.
- Their Reality – Why they behaved that way’
- The Impact – What are the potential impacts of their behaviour
- The Options – What could/ will happen if they continue their behaviour;
Here you can help them to identify what are the areas they feel they should continue doing and what do they need to focus on improving.
To help the conversation achieve its purpose always refer to the previous 3 steps to prevent it from breaking down or losing its impact.
‘I want to discuss your behaviour, not anyone else’s. I will discuss other team members behaviour issues with them directly’
It is also important to understand that an employee’s behaviour or performance can be affected by external issues such as lack of resources, lack of support or other factors. These should be identified in the discussion phase.
Step 5 – Actions
The final stage is to agree on actions and next steps for both the employee and the manager. Ask the employee to commit and take ownership of their behaviour and the potential impact it has.
‘Ok, so we have discussed how by you getting aggressive in team meetings is causing friction with others. In the future, if you disagree with any points raised what are you going to do differently?’
And finally, seek agreement by asking
'Are you prepared to do this?'
You need to approve their decision and give feedback about how you can support or manage their behaviour moving forward.
By following the PEEDA model you should have identified all the causes of any negative behaviour. When done correctly both parties leave with a sense of purpose with the guidance and expectations of what needs to be done next.
So, there we have it the PEEDA feedback conversation model; use it next time you are giving constructive feedback for performance management.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? DO YOU AGREE, OR DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE? If so then leave your comments and feedback below