Engagement Tip # 30 – Defusing Emotions During Performance Reviews

Performance reviews can evoke strong and unexpected emotional reactions. And it is natural to react defensively, especially when employees hear that their performance is not up to par and this is the first time they hear about the issue. For months they have been performing under the assumption that they were doing the right things and now they are being told otherwise. When emotions flare, you can't diffuse emotions with more emotions. These delicate situations required a process that creates a more productive conversations and satisfactory outcome. The process equalizes the balance of power between employees and leaders.

  • Maintain respect at all times.
  • Focus on the facts.
  • Give your employee an equal opportunity to give their perspective.
  • Give careful consideration to both perspectives.
  • Jointly identify options to resolve the issue.
  • Jointly agree on a plan of action.
  • Follow up with feedback as promised.

It's not realistic to expect a quick resolution to an important performance issue after a single and quick discussion with an employee. If the issue is important enough to discuss, it deserves the effort required to find a win-win resolution. The employee has to understand what needs to change and what actions need to be taken. The employee also needs to feel he or she can count on your leadership support to resolve the issue. A two-way process goes a long way in ensuring that the issue is resolved and a stronger relationship emerges.

Dianne is a certified coach who is passionate about helping individuals and business leaders thrive as they successfully manage the dynamics of continual transitions.  She is the author of a new book: If There Are No Limits… A guide to living with passion, purpose and possibilities. For more information visit her website at

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Dianne Gaudet is a certified Coach who is passionate about helping her clients manage the dynamics of continual life transitions as they reach new heights of personal and professional success. Helping Boomers create rich and inspired lifestyle plans for the retirement life they want is one of her greatest joys. Dianne is the author of a new book, If There Are No Limits... A guide to living with passion, purpose and possibilities. She is also a motivational speaker, teacher and world traveller.