Not All Conflict is Bad | Reframing Performance Reviews | Culture Tip #2

Posted on: January 21st, 2019 by Nicole Kessell | No Comments

Conflict is part of life, but not all conflict is bad – it’s hard to move forward without confronting the inevitable differences in opinion progress creates and by confronting these differences head on, everyone is able to resolve and move forward much more quickly.



Performance reviews are often not at the top of our priority lists because we assume that they create conflict. Try reframing those thoughts to clarify that they are actually opportunities to offer feedback, discuss solutions, and perhaps, to learn a different perspective.  Reviews should be a summary of many mini-feedback discussions you’ve had over the course of the year. If you don’t avoid these mini-feedback sessions, the review finishes itself.


Below is a simple three-step feedback model you can use as a powerful and effective way to keep your team accountable and on-track:


1) Permission – Ask if you can offer some information. For example, “Can I tell you something?” or “Can I give you some feedback quick?” (If you receive the unlikely response, of “No, this isn’t a good time,” respect the individual and ask when a good time to talk briefly with them would be).


2) State the Behavior and the Result of that Behavior – Clarify the behavior you would like to see changed, “When you are 5 minutes late for meetings, it causes other team members to be late for their other appointments that day,” or “I noticed that you didn’t visit customer XYZ yesterday as planned. Since this wasn’t communicated to me, it created a very awkward conversation when I got a call from them later that day and didn’t have all the necessary information.”


3) Call to Action – Simply state in clear and polite terms what you would like to have happen instead. “Will you please be 5 minutes early for meetings so that we can all get started and finished on time?  Thanks for that, I appreciate it.” If you should get a negative response, ask why and for details – there could be more to learn that might change your desired solution.  If the response is positive but the behavior doesn’t change for the better, be sure to follow up again and ask for details on why they haven’t been able to follow through on the plan as agreed upon.


A few other tips, should this be a situation where you have a concern you’d like to address with a peer rather than someone reporting to you, approach a little differently. For example, “I thought you might want to know…” or “I noticed the group didn’t respond very positively when you stated XYZ, you may want to consider ABC.”


The keys to effective feedback are simply, BE SPECIFICBE RESPECTFUL, and ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. Be sure to balance negative or critical feedback with at least three more positive interactions in a time period within a day or two of the critical feedback to keep your team’s energy tank full. Positive feedback is every bit as important as addressing the things we’d like to see changed.


Article by Nicole O’Brien, Human Resources Manager


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