Manage Employee Performance Through Conversation

conversations.marnieThe success of managers in government organizations is defined by their ability to achieve results and drive change. Results and change come about through conversation and it’s not always easy to initiate the conversations that are required. In fact, many managers would prefer to avoid the tough conversations altogether. Still, managing the performance of employees in a public agency doesn’t have to be difficult. The next time you see an issue that you believe needs to change, prepare for the conversation with the employee using these simple steps:

1. Define the behavior that is not productive. How are the person’s actions impacting the work or other team members? The more job-specific you can be, the more objective the issue will sound. ‘You are not pulling your weight,’ is not a specific behavior. Instead, start your conversation with something more behavioral like, ‘I noticed that you closed five cases last week while the team average is eighteen cases per week.’

2. Describe the behavior you expect. What should the person be doing instead of what they are doing now? Focus on the behaviors and not on the employee’s attitude. Be clear about what you want them to do instead of focusing on what you don’t want them to do.

3. Focus on outcomes. Ask yourself, ‘What will happen if I talk with the employee about the behavior?’ or ‘What will happen if I avoid having a conversation with the employee about the issue?’ These questions will usually remind you that the issue will not be resolved or the behavior will not change until you initiate the conversation.

4. Just do it. Waiting for the ‘right time’ to have what you believe could be a painful conversation only gives you an excuse to avoid the situation. Often, waiting to have the conversation only makes the situation worse. The sooner you initiate the conversation, the sooner the employee can improve their performance’” and the sooner you can move on to more pleasant things.

Sometimes just having the conversation is all that is needed to resolve workplace issues. Don’t allow the human tendency to avoid conflict or ‘bad news’ get in the way of doing what is most needed in public agencies today.

You can find  Manage Employee Performance Through Conversation as well as our other featured article,   Fielding Hard Ball Questions from Public Audiences on the Careers in Government Website.

For more tool and strategies visit:   Management Strategies and HR-Tips on the CIG Website.

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