Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Quick Performance Notes


Confrontation is hard. All too often, managers don’t take the time to provide quick feedback because of it. It may be easier to batch them up for an annual performance review, but by then the bad habits have become the norm for that employee and it becomes even more difficult to address.

What if we didn’t have to view it as a confrontation, but rather a quick performance note? “Hey, how’s it going? I noticed you did x. Next time, would you do y instead of x, because…?” We have all this internal conversation about our own needs and emotions: e.g., that we are upset with them, and why did they do that?

I have a lot to say about how these interactions can occur to maximize the success of the employee but if I had to fit them all on a scrap piece of paper, it would look like this:

• Personnel performance feedback “Protips”:

  1. Write out any frustrations about the employee to get it off your chest
  2. Write out the underlying problems behind your feelings
  3. Name trends you see and cite examples in that context
  4. Frame why it is a problem for the team/company
  5. Identify actions/attitude you want to see instead and vision you want them to share
  6. If unsure about if they can deliver it not, discuss and explore together techniques and structure for their success
  7. Agree on a time to check back for progress

• In communication:

  1. Avoid using the words always and never
  2. Avoid using terms that require air quotes or name calling
  3. Don’t speak for them. Start with sentences that begin with I
  4. It’s ok to have a period of silence. Best to choose your words carefully
  5. Praises should be specific and say why what they did was good
  6. Do not follow positive observations or praise with but. But negates what you just said so they only hear the clause following the word but.
  7. Catch them “doing good” and follow up on your immediate verbal praise with a written note

More on performance review and providing feedback:

On Correcting Behaviors

On Mentoring Using a Performance Review

How to Start Writing a Performance Review

Reorganizing Elements Netflix Uses for Performance Review

Lessons from Dog Training



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This entry was posted on May 7, 2016 by in Management and tagged , , .
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