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Answering Leadership Questions

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Rachelle Enns
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Have you ever had to give an employee a poor performance review? How did you feel about that responsibility?

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Example #1
"A large part of my role is to give monthly performance reviews to my team of 13 employees. When I need to deliver a poor review, the employee is already aware that I will be looking for improvement in their performance. This awareness is because I stay in close contact with all of my employees on their monthly progress. The last poor performance review I delivered was a 30-minute review that I booked with the individual ahead of time. Their productivity had been slipping for about four weeks, and it was time to make a new plan of action. I was sure to make the meeting private. I gave tangible feedback using specific examples. Then, we created a measurable plan together. This team member was appreciative of the time that I took to nurture the situation rather than reprimand them."
Example #2
"To be completely transparent, giving critical reviews is not my favorite task; however, if I am prepared for the conversation ahead of time, I can complete a well-balanced performance review. I have trained a few temp administrators in my current role, as we utilize a temp agency during our peak seasons. Just last month, I was asked to provide performance feedback to a new temp associate. I gave some critical points, with examples, and then offered suggestions and action steps for improvement. The temp associate was appreciative that I put in the added effort to help them do a better job."
Example #3
"Recently, during my exit interview, I gave my company a performance review, which was an interesting twist from my typical performance reviews that I deliver as a manager. I sat down in private with the CEO before I left and gave him valuable feedback regarding some of the company's processes. It was a slightly uncomfortable conversation; however, he thanked me for my honesty in the end. I provided helpful information and thoughts that the company can build on for future growth and improvements."
Example #4
"I have delivered a handful of performance reviews in my current role as Marketing Manager. When I give an unsavory review, I act as a mentor and ask the employee to work with me on a performance plan. I never want anyone to feel like they are on the verge of being fired because that never improves an employee's performance. I took this approach a few weeks ago when I noticed one of our junior marketers' productivity dwindle. We discussed the approach, the tools I could provide to support her better, and we also set a timeline for change. I wanted her to feel like she was part of an important collaboration to boost engagement."
Example #5
"In my previous role, performance reviews were handled by my manager. However, I did help my manager file write-ups related to performance issues. I believe that performed correctly, a performance review with a poorly performing team member, is a great service since it's an investment of time aimed to help them improve. I am open to learning how to deliver a proper performance review."
Example #6
"I am comfortable giving feedback to others when needed. I know to be specific, approach the situation with empathy, and ensure that all poor performance-related conversations happen in private. A couple of months ago, when I was giving an employee review, I started by asking the person to assess their performance. The person pointed out their shortcomings, which aligned with the notes that I had prepared. From the point of agreeance, we had a positive brainstorming session and came up with a plan for improvement. This particular team member thanked me for coaching rather than reprimanding them."
Example #7
"I give student reviews all the time, even aside from report card time. I am comfortable giving constructive feedback in any situation; however, I have never critiqued a fellow teacher. In one of my more recent parent-teacher interviews, I needed to let the parents of my student know that his attentiveness in class was slipping. In the conversation, I focused on his performance, rather than his personality. This way, the situation did not become personal in any way. Together, we worked on a plan to help this student become more engaged in class. In the end, the student responded very well, and his parents were happy that I came to them with my concerns."
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