Most of what HR professionals (this included me) have taught our leaders about giving performance feedback and addressing performance issues is flat out wrong.
We learn and use the “constructive criticism” and SBI approaches (Situation, Behavior and Impact). The SBI approach is usually awkward and overkill for most situations. Turns out that criticism, constructive or not is still criticism. 9.75 out of 10 times the person on the receiving end will react defensively, moving you further away from your goal of actually getting the individual to listen and upgrade their performance.
I dug out a horrendous training presentation I developed back in 2001. I’m completely embarrassed yet still posting the slides for the world to see. The worst of it is on slide #8; be sure to check that one out. First off, I was giving outdated useless "how-to" advice on the topic. Second, my PowerPoint skills at the time were sorely lacking (I’ve since gotten to be a PowerPoint Jedi). WARNING: do not implement this or anything that resembles it in your organization and if this is your organization’s approach to teaching managers how to manage performance it’s not too late to adopt a more modern approach to this age-old challenge.
Check out a short article The Worst Way to Give Feedback to see if you or the leaders in your organization are approaching feedback in this way. My bet is that it’s what you learned and if you’re in HR it may be what you’re teaching others. Learn a modern approach to giving performance feedback by registering for the HR.com webcast, Mastering the Art of Giving Performance Feedback, on August 17, 2011 1-2pm ET.