17 Sentences for Your Performance Conversations

by Nov 4, 2019

We’ve been developing performance management systems for several clients lately, and even helping a few implement BambooHR.

We find in our work that many managers have never been trained in how to deliver effective and collaborative performance conversations, so in the interest of providing you a simple tool absent of our training, we created this list for you.

Here are 17 sentences you can steal for your performance conversations or your documentation, categorized to make it easy on you. Some are for giving positive feedback and some are for addressing opportunities for improvement.

And remember, it’s best practice to check in with employees at least once per month!


1. Communication is definitely one of your strengths. Specifically [fill in the blank].

2. We value respectful communication here, and when you [fill in the blank] it goes against our company core values.

3. I think you have some great ideas. I’d love it if you [fill in the blank] so you could share them with others.


4. I appreciate your willingness to work so hard! You do what it takes to get the job done and it is awesome.

5. We value independent thinking and initiative here. I’d like to see more self-direction from you.

Problem Solving

6. Your ability to solve problems and get the right answers without much, if any, help makes you a valuable asset.

7. It would be helpful if you could seek answers and problem-solve on your own before reaching out to others for help. It’s a great way for you to learn.


8. I can see you really living our core value of teamwork when you [fill in the blank].

9. Part of being a good teammate is communicating with respect and I’m hearing that people are perceiving interactions with you as [fill in the blank]. What are your thoughts on that perception?


10. Thank you for always being so positive! You really keep the team energized.

11. You have a knack for staying civil and polite even in stressful situations, and it improves our workplace.

12. When you have a negative attitude, it can affect others around you by [fill in the blank].


13. You are really great at rallying the troops and getting everyone excited to move forward on [fill in the blank]. It is really impressive.

14. Part of being a good leader is inspiring others, and we feel that you tend to lead with fear. For example, [fill in the blank]. We would like to see you turn this around. Any thoughts on how you might do that?

15. I know leading others can be intimidating, and it can be hard to have difficult conversations, but it’s important that you lean into leadership by [fill in the blank].

Core Values

16. You consistently demonstrate our core values, and it makes you a role model for others.

17. It’s imperative that you live our core values in everything you do. A good place to start is to create an action plan for implementing each core value in your daily work. Let’s start with one action item for each core value and build from there.

Keep in mind that any constructive feedback should include some follow-up questions such as, “What ideas do you have to make some adjustments?” and, “How can I help you succeed?” and, “What feels like a reasonable timeframe to make these changes?”

Now you’re ready to prep for those collaborative performance conversations. Good luck!

And if you’re still not sure, you can always check out my LinkedIn Learning course on Buliding a Performance Managament System to learn more!

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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