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For Staff: Making Performance Conversations work for You -- Half Day Sessions

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In our conversational coaching clinics, we’re often asked about the challenges of talking to people about performance issues. They’re one of the most commonly avoided and widely feared species of difficult discussions. Most of us would rather walk on hot coals than have to conduct a conversation with a low performer.

But if it’s painful for you to conduct the conversation, what about the person whose performance is under question?


Articles on Performance Conversations in our seasonal

CC E-News Issue#13

read online or download





Performance Paranoia?

Performance conversations can be a terrifying ordeal for many of us. Whether you’re a solid performer or someone who sometimes struggles, we often turn up feeling uneasy, anxious or a bit defensive, even if we know there’s no need. You’d think this paranoia only pertains to poor performers – but even high performers can tend to shy away from them.

Performance appraisals are often the annual ritual everyone dreads. And these anxieties can apply just as much to managers as they do to staff. They can feel under-prepared and ill-equipped, especially if the conversation is going to be a bit testy or touchy

Managers play the lead-role in initiating and engaging staff, but let’s not forget the other key player.  While it’s up to leaders to make it safe for staff to engage and deal with defensiveness, it’s also up to staff to overcome any natural dislike they may have of them and approach performance conversations in constructive and positive ways to identify things that enable them to do their job better and grow. That way, everyone wins.


Painless performance conversations may not be entirely possible – though some leaders I’m sure would like a supply of anaesthetics handy! So next time you’re in the dentist chair, why not distract yourself constructively by thinking of how you can handle your next poor performance conversation differently…

Copyright © Bill Cropper 2011                                  Download Article                                 Download CC E-News Issue-13


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Managing Performance...

Dealing with Defensiveness

Organisations spend thousands on performance management programs, training and systems software but in the end many managers play Hamlet and still procrastinate, sidestep or totally avoid having conversations with low performers.

Even the most seasoned managers can come up with a multitude of excuses for avoiding or delaying a difficult performance conversation. Here’s a few we most commonly hear:


They’re retiring, leaving or transferring soon – so the problem will fix itself


Saying something to them will only make things worse


It will only de-motivate them or make them more hard to get along with


I don't think they’ll change no matter what I say or do


I’m frightened of how they’ll react or what they’ll do


This person has a lot of influence – they can make things difficult for me


I have a pretty good relationship with this person and I don’t want to upset that


I’m concerned they’ll lodge a grievance or complaint against me


I don't know what to say – I hate dealing with conflict


Maybe they’ll pick up on my subtle hints and start doing the right thing


I don't know what the solution to this performance issue is


Their performance is good in others areas – so on balance I’ll just ignore this bit


Any of these sound familiar? Of course, you can’t let poor performance go and here’s the main reason: it’s simply not fair to others on your team who are performing w

More Articles and tips on the subject of difficult performance conversations in Issue-13 of our CC E-News...


  for future issues of CC E-News

Contact Us to enquire about having our Positive Performance Conversations program delivered in-house for your leadership group or team.


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Practical 1-day clinic for Leaders with Tools & Tips to make performance talks with your team more constructive & trouble-free

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Half-day or 1-day seminar for Staff featuring 12 Pointers for Performance Conversations to help you engage better in performance appraisals

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FactFile-35: Performance Conversations

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