Tough Talk: If you’re being performance managed – here are your options

Posted on August 7, 2020
By Catherine Heilemann

Performance management! That dreaded moment where you are called into an office, offered an opportunity to bring a support person, receive ‘feedback’ that is distressing for you. You’re told to pull your socks up or you will likely end up losing your job… 

So, what can you do to own your space throughout performance management? 

First off, listen, listen and listen some more. Check your understanding. You don’t need to jump in and defend yourself, just listen, take some time and take it in.  

Ask questions about the process. What to expect, how it will be managed, who is involved and how confidential it is.

Keep records of everything. Sometimes our recollections can trick us, and with an important topic like this you don’t want hearsay to be your backup. 

Be honest with your responses to your boss. If something is out of your league, let them know and explain to them why you think you haven’t been able to attain success as you and they would like.

Take some time to think about your job – Do you like it? Do you like the company? Do you want to stay? Is your performance an indicator of what is really on your mind? What is really holding you back – be honest with yourself. 

Own what has happened. Apportioning blame isn’t helpful. Acknowledge the areas you think you can change and put in place a plan you are comfortable with to achieve any agreed goals.  

Ask for support if you’re being asked to improve on something that isn’t a strength of yours, this could be mentoring, coaching, training or even outsourcing the really tough stuff to someone else and be sure to get agreement from your boss on this. 

Communicate proactively. Don’t wait for each performance meeting, check-in with them frequently and engage in an open conversation to resolve it and listen to any further feedback, guidance or advice they offer and work with them on how to integrate it into what you’re doing. 

If you successfully make it through the performance management, stay on track. Keep the changes you’ve made front of mind. Keep the conversation open with your boss and gain understanding of any other areas where you need help. The more you do this, the more likely you will be to succeed. 

Tough Talk: If you’re being performance managed – here are your options

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