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Giving Feedback in Difficult Situations

Frequenty Asked Questions

Giving Feedback in Difficult Situations

IF AN EMPLOYEE DISAGREES WITH OR REJECTS FEEDACK ON POOR PERFORMANCE

  • Ensure that feedback is timely, specific and directed at actual examples
  • Allow time for employee to digest, especially if the feedback is unexpected

IF AN EMPLOYEE BECOMES AGGRESSIVE

  • Maintain calm and rational approach, don’t react
  • Take a short break to allow the employee time to calm down
  • Reiterate your concerns and why they need to be addressed
  • Allow employee to explain why they are angry and ask questions
  • Terminate the discussion if health or safety is at risk and reschedule to continue at a later time

IF AN EMPLOYEE BECOMES EMOTIONAL

  • Allow employee time to collect themselves
  • Wait until they are ready to speak again before continuing with the discussion
  • Avoid ending the meeting
  • Don’t become angry or defensive

IF THE SUPPORT PERSON TAKES OVER THE DISCUSSION

  • Ensure you clarify the role each person has to play during the discussion
  • Remind the support person that they are for support and not to speak on behalf of the employee during the meeting if necessary

IF THE EMPLOYEE OR SUPPORT PERSON MAKES THREATS

  • Confirm employee rights in performance management process
  • Reaffirm the reason for the discussion and the importance of talking about the relevant issues
  • Encourage the employee to raise their concerns within the meeting

IF THE EMPLOYEE REFUSES TO CONTINUE THE DISCUSSION OR WALKS OUT

  • Make the request for a meeting in writing and importance of addressing your concerns
  • Continued avoidance of attending meeting can be grounds for a formal written warning

By making sure you are prepared with specific examples, you have planned your discussion agenda and are confident with the key messages you wish to provide to your employee will help you to remain calm during a difficult performance management discussion.
It is important to keep in mind that where an employee’s performance is unsatisfactory, it is best to act swiftly to address these performance issues as they arise (instead of leaving them to be addressed in the formal appraisal process which may take place months after the underperformance is first noticed). This will provide the employee with an opportunity to respond and to improve their performance before a formal performance appraisal process is conducted.

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