I’m excited to share this interview discussing my new book, Painless Performance Conversations, published by Wiley in a recent press release!
1. Why did you decide to write a book about workplace discussions?
After the release of my first book, Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day-to-Day Employee Performance, I received feedback from the managers and supervisors who attended my training sessions. They told me that while they dreaded the annual performance evaluation, the real pain was in the day-to-day conversations with employees, especially when the employee’s performance was not up to par.
I began to chronicle the conversations they indicated were the most painful and developed tools and approaches to boost their confidence in tackling the toughest discussions. After testing these ideas and approaches in workshops with managers, I learned that the concepts were sound and applicable in any work environment. Writing them down and illustrating them in Painless Performance Conversations was a way to honor the hard work these managers do every day. Leading a staff is not easy and managers deserve simple, practical tools that will make their lives easier, while boosting the performance of employees.
2. Who is the target audience Painless Performance Conversations is written for?
Painless Performance Conversations will speak to anyone who provides feedback to others. Leaders wishing to create a culture of accountability, in private sector organizations, as well as in public agencies and non-profit organizations, will find value in these concepts.
3. What is a painless performance conversation?
A Painless Performance Conversation is with a person you care about concerning an issue you are concerned with where the outcome is uncertain and the situation requires your influence. In essence, painless performance conversations are the discussions that managers use to help employees make a shift in their performance.
4. Chapter 2 is titled, “Have the Guts” – why are managers often reluctant to have the hard conversations with their employees?
Over the years I’ve captured dozens of reasons why managers put off critical performance discussions. Many of these reasons are listed in the book. A few of the most common reasons include concern for how the employee will react, a fear of the unknown, and a lack of confidence that they can manage the conversation productively.
5. What do you hope readers take away after reading this book?
My hope is that readers will find practical tools and approaches to use in their most uncomfortable workplace discussions. From setting expectations to using questions that engage employees in problem solving, the book is filled with dialogue, phrases, and sample conversations that will help managers better approach their next performance-related conversation. Using these ideas will help managers create a culture of ownership that allows employees to perform at the highest levels.