Eliminate Judgment


A major part of your job as a manager is to give feedback to your employees to help them meet and exceed your performance expectations. It should be easy, right?

Just share your perspectives with employees, and they will improve, grow, and develop. As easy as this concept sounds, most managers struggle with giving feedback that is constructive, specific, productive, and received in the way it was intended. One reason giving feedback is tough is because we often don’t give feedback; we make judgments. Don’t feel bad. We all do it.

Performance conversations will be most impactful when you focus on judgment-free evidence. A critical mind-set for a painless performance conversation is to eliminate judgment.

Often, we don’t even realize that we’ve made a judgment when we are trying to provide helpful feedback. Here are a few examples:

Judgment: “You didn’t prepare enough for that important presentation.”
Feedback: “There were details and statistics that were not included in your presentation. For example . . . ”

Judgment: “You are not carrying your weight on the team.”
Feedback: “You have completed three case files this week. Your peers are completing an average of six case files per week, and the standard is five files per week.”

Judgment: “You did a great job today with the Jones complaint.”
Feedback: “Your ideas for solving the Jones complaint were innovative and effective. You gave the customer several options, all of which were appropriate given the situation.”

You’ve been forming your opinions and perspectives since you and the employee first met. It can be tough to remain focused on the evidence and withhold judgment.  Yet, facts and evidence will always be more influential (and less painful) in helping the employee see the impact of their behavior.

If your goal is to mold and improve employee performance, leaving your judgments out of the conversation will help employees focus on their own behaviors rather than on what you think of them.

Read more about the four critical mind-sets of a painless performance conversations in our blog: Conversations Drive Performance and Lead with Behavior.

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