Performance Counseling is the second step in the behavioral/performance modification process. The word “counseling” denotes the degree of formality and assertiveness that is required to make this process successful. Normally, after a counseling interview is completed, a written record (summary) is made of the interview and placed in the Employee’s Performance file.
A performance counseling interview “can be” a two-way communication process. In some instances you are only interested in presenting your point of view. In other words, you are “reporting to the employee what you see – and telling them the changes that must be made.” In other situations, you want the employee involved in the process.
Pitfalls To Avoid
1. Failure to confront the problem as soon as it surfaces.
2. Acting before you understand what the problem really is.
3. Acting before you have completed the Employee Performance Analysis.
4. Beginning the counseling process with preconceived notions.
5. Failure to listen.
6. Failure to invoke consequences for non-performance.
If we fail to avoid the pitfalls, we fail to help people become the employee that they deserve to be. We also become a detriment to our organization because employees are not being held accountable for their bad behavior and performance. The good employees also start to question our leadership abilities because we avoid confrontations and set a new standard of conduct.
* This is an excerpt from The Three C’s of Leadership (Coaching, Counseling, and Confrontation), a Mastering Leadership Skills seminar.