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What questions should Leaders ask themselves before holding a performance related discussion?

We should not be concerned about performance issues as an issue employee deficiency but a consequence of the structure they must operate within, the roles they’re asked to fulfil and the misjudgement of those in Leadership above them. For example, the organisational norm puts unique beings (i.e. people) into standardised job descriptions. This scenario needs reversing: we must start building roles around people instead.

The status quo defaults to “how do I change other people to fit my expectations?” This is too easy. It lets us off the questions that really matter, in particular: “how am I contributing to what is seemingly going awry here?”

So, before we start addressing performance issues in others, we must first ask ourselves a set of more meaningful questions, such as:

  • What is my role in this issue?
  • How can I recognise and nurture this employee’s strengths?
  • What can I learn from this about how our organisation limits people?
  • How is the team doing overall?
  • What is this employee’s unique super powers that benefit the team?
  • What could this employee and I commit to achieving together?
  • What opportunities can we seek and pursue together that we aren’t currently?
  • How can I honestly express how I personally feel about this employee?
  • How can I influence those more senior than me on behalf of this employee?
  • Am I accessible to this employee?
  • How regularly do I connect with them?
  • If what I want to say might distance my employee, is it really worth the price, or am I just venting an honest mistake?
  • What support can I enlist from elsewhere that would benefit this employee?
  • How would I treat this employee differently if they were my family member?
  • How can I give this employee more autonomy?
  • How can I be more of a friend to this employee?
  • Could I understand this person and their situation better?
  • How much do I make time to hear what is going on in their private lives?
  • Where could I be more vulnerable to this employee?
  • What do I need to say sorry for with this employee?
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  1. John Featherby

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