How to help employees align performance perception with reality

Self-awareness is critically important to personal and professional growth. If you’re not honest about your performance or behavior, you won’t take the necessary steps toward improvement. A challenge for leaders is coaching employees who may have mismatched perceptions of their performance and reality.

As we set goals and resolutions with our teams for the new year, the advice in this Harvard Business Review article from management consultant Liz Kislik will prove invaluable for leaders charged with managing an underperformer. Here’s what she recommends:

  • Be clear about expectations: Providing direct feedback can be difficult. In an effort to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, we often bookend conversations with positives and move quickly over the bad. But, if you’re not clear about how an employee’s lacking performance is negatively impacting the company or their future opportunities, they won’t grasp the importance of making changes. Looking to improve your culture of feedback? Here are some tips to make it more receptive.
  • Provide employees with resources and support: We hire and promote people because we see their potential. But once they’re in that role, leaders must continue to mentor and provide learning opportunities for sustained growth. An employee who doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to do well will likely feel frustrated, potentially becoming disengaged and disillusioned with their role if they don’t feel supported.

 

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