Performance Discussion ToolboxA few weeks ago, in our blog titled “Hottest Trends in Performance Management – TREAD CAREFULLY!“, we touched on the New Performance Discussion Toolbox for Managers. We had a few individuals reach out to understand better what might be included in this toolbox, and we wanted to share this with you.

What Managers need in the New Performance Discussion Toolbox

In our experience, Leaders need to have access to tools that help them create constructive conversations. At a minimum the toolbox should contain details on how to lead the following discussions:

  1. Role Clarity – a conversation of why and how the person’s role fits into the bigger picture. Spending time on the key responsibilities and ensuring clarity, competence, and motivation.
  2. How to Set Objectives and/or Goals – this is about the alignment and cascading of goals across your team, your function, and the business. This is not a “tell” but a facilitated educational, alignment, and purpose-confirming conversation.
  3. Establishing Key Performance Indicators/Metrics – this conversation is dependent on the skill, knowledge, and capability of the employee and can vary from laying it out for them to having them present back to you. Again, it is about the structure of the conversation.
  4. Check-in’s – these conversations need to be as structured as the others and seemingly flexible and unstructured at the same time. Knowing when to be bolder or challenging or supportive is the key for the manager.
  5. Engagement Planning and Follow Through – effective engagement discussions requires the leader to be both facilitator and team leader. The right structure and the ability to establish focus and commitments is key.
  6. Career Conversations – this is one conversation that managers often struggle having.  Asking someone “where they see themselves?” Or “what they would like to do one day?” are not career conversations. They are just the starting point.
  7. Development Planning – starting with who should be the lead in building the plan and how a manager can play a part in the development process by asking effective and reflective questions.
  8. Celebrations and Rewards – managers need to be much more specific in providing positive, future focused feedback to employees and, at the same time, sensitive to the employee’s preferred means of being recognized.
  9. Early Crucial Conversations – for a whole host of reasons managers elect not to lean in quick enough to prevent or right the derailing employee. How you open the conversation is the most critical element.
  10. Accountability – this is about someone knowing their purpose, tasks and decision rights, when they must escalate and when they need to work collaboratively.
  11. Being a Team Player – this is a key skill set required in today’s organizations. Managers need to know how to balance team and individual during performance discussions.

Providing your leaders the tools to have these new conversations is what the New Performance Management is all about.

For additional information or development for your leaders on creating a conversation toolkit, please contact Lighthouse NINE Group.

Phil Drouillard, ICF
Lighthouse NINE Group
One Eva Road, Suite 209 | Etobicoke, ON M9C 4Z5
Office: 416-607-5923


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