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!

Communication

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.

Initiative

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.

Teamwork

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?

Attitude

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].

Leadership

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.

Do you have formal buddy system in place for your new hires?

New hire buddy systems fail when expectations of buddies are not clear, and agendas aren’t provided, so people don’t really know what to do.

As someone who specializes in coaching abrasive and aggressive leaders, I’ve noticed some patterns. Topics that continue to come up in my coaching sessions time and again. Get this. There are things your organization could be doing that actually facilitate bullying. I...

Resolving Conflict: A Case Study

One of our clients had two employees who were struggling to get along. Both employees were key contributors, and the business owner was desperate for them to resolve their differences. It all started when one employee (I’ll call her Susan) was quick to email out...

Four Steps to Dealing with Difficult People

Difficult people are everywhere. It’s likely you have encountered someone at work who struggles to connect with others in a positive way, whether because they are a downer, a one-upper, a gossip, or other reason. While difficult people come in many forms, they all...

Latest book, SEEKING CIVILITY, is released!

I have just released my latest book, SEEKING CIVILITY: How leaders, managers and HR can create a workplace free of bullying and abusive conduct. I thought I'd throw up a few excerpts for interest: What Bullying Is Bullying is repeated abuse that creates a...

What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Really Mean

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential to creating a positive work environment where employees are happy and thriving. We work with organizations to assess and address any issues related to DEI, and we provide training and resources to help create a...

5 Action Items for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Building a healthy workplace where employees feel appreciated and respected requires, among other things, making it diverse and inclusive. It is essential for organizations that want to attract and retain top talent, foster innovation, and stay competitive in today's...

Toxic Work Culture: Three Behaviors That Contribute

Way before working at Civility Partners, I suffered from a toxic work culture. Even though I loved my job, it was very tiring—emotionally, mentally, and physically. The work environment was very unhealthy, and because of that, I made the best decision of my life by...

15 Tiny Habits To Kick Off Your New Year

If you’re anything like me, you kick off your New Year with all the lofty resolutions you can think of. In theory, it’s a great way to be intentional about your future. My problem in checking off those resolutions (and maybe yours, too) is twofold. First, I set...