The Simplest Way to Provide Performance Feedback

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Sit down with your employee individually, have them make a list of three things that are going well for them and three things that could be better. Make your own list with the same. Share. Assist. Repeat.

We tend to overthink performance feedback. We’ve cornered ourselves into thinking that a performance review is the best and the only way to tell people where they stand. (Although it remains true that if a performance review is your codified means for documenting performance, and it is even remotely connected to promotion and/or discipline, you should DEFINITELY do them, and do them well)

There are, however, many ways to offer consistent, meaningful performance feedback that doesn’t involve HR.

Performance feedback should be easy to do, provoke a thoughtful conversation, and feel safe for you and the employee. It should provide everyone with opportunities to build on strengths or improve on weaknesses without worrying about how it affects their next raise.

Right about now you’re probably thinking that the only thing I’ve provided is a suggested method for having a conversation. You are correct. That is exactly what I am providing you. This isn’t about “what’s new”it’s about what you should ALREADY be doing on a regular basis!

When we work our way through school, or nod knowingly in training sessions and conferences we all seem to agree that employees want and need feedback about their performance on a regular basis to be successful. It’s just one of many essential ingredients of high performance, but it’s a big one.

And yet, time and time again, we neglect opportunities to provide simple, consistent feedback about how things are going for our employees. That “teachable moment”? Poof! We missed it. That “praiseworthy performance”? Wiff! We didn’t’ speak up when we should have.

Further, when we FINALLY work up the guts to say something, ANYTHING at all, the moment is so rife with tension built up from months (dare I say years?) of miscues, missteps, false starts and assumptions that we don’t stand a chance!

In other words, it’s hard because we make it hard!

So start having regular performance conversations with your people. Use this method if you need to, but do so in a way that teaches everyone that feedback is just another part of the day to day life of where you work. Then, you won’t need a script, or a form, or a list of things to talk about and you won’t have to crawl the internet looking for blog posts like this to solve your problems.

You can do it. Get started now.


Image credit: By 0x010C - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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