We’ve all been there: you knew this was going to be a difficult review, but you thought he would handle it well. You explained your position calmly to her, but she’s getting irate with this performance review. You’re caught in a bad review, now what do you do? There are several things you can do to handle a performance review gone wrong!
A Defensive Employee
If the employee becomes defensive or starts making excuses, he is trying to cope with the bad review by deflecting the blame. In this case, there are several things you can do to shift the conversation:
- Listen to the employee, many times she wants to talk and get what she has to say off her chest. Do not interrupt her, listen to what she has to say.
- Repeat back what you heard to get feedback if you understand her position.
- Remain neutral and calm.
- Do not solve the problem; this is a review.
- Use open ended questions to find specifics. For example, You are frequently late because of traffic. What are the things you could do to miss the heavy traffic?
- Determine the cause.
- Ask the employee how she will resolve the problem.
An Angry Employee
I’ve heard horror stories about angry employees and how they react to performance reviews. If you have any angry employee:
- Stay calm with the employee and maintain eye contact.
- Listen to what the employee has to say. Paraphrase back so you are sure to understand what he is saying.
- Let the employee get out everything he has to say until he is in a position to listen to you.
- Avoid arguments.
- Focus the discussion on performance standards; do not let devolve into a conversation about you or relationships.
- Ask open ended questions.
An employee could also become unresponsive or just withdraw from the conversation. You can bring the employee back in by:
- Being patient and friendly.
- Showing concern for the employee.
- Silence is an amazing tool – shut up and wait for the employee to talk.
- Asking open ended questions.
- Note that the employee is unresponsive.
- Explain to the employee that you want his opinion and that it’s important to you.
Use these techniques when you’re in a performance review which has gone bad.