Performance Management

Getting Employees to Accept Accountability for their Performance

Giving you the gift of performance management experience!


"The most powerful technique available to get your people to take personal accountability for their own performance"



Difficult Performance Management Conversations

In a performance discussion, when you demonstrate to an employee that their performance does not meet expectations most employees will accept that they need to improve their performance, however there will be a small number who either


  • Deny that their performance needs to improve or deny that their performance is below expectations or deny that the targets are achievable.
  • Are angry with you
  • Blame others for their poor performance (often the leader)


These employees can be very frustrating to deal with.


Often an employee will progress from Denial to Anger to Blame in a performance discussion. This progression is called the grief cycle. Your challenge (that we will show you a nifty trick to help you with) is to get the employee to progress through the stages of the grief cycle to acceptance by the end of your performance discussion.


An employee needs to be willing and able to improve their performance. Only when an employee accepts responsibility for their performance are they going to be willing to improve their performance. Hence the need to guide your employees to acceptance.


The diagram below depicts the employee's progress through the stages of the grief cycle.



Performance Management




Where do we want our employees to be?


Highly engaged employee's are willing to achieve or exceed their performance objectives. This willingness comes from an acceptance of accountability for achieving their performance goals. So as a good leader you want to ensure your employees have an acceptance of accountability, as depicted below.



Performance Management technique



However, where are your employees?


The good news is that most of your employees will already be accepting accountability, however there will be a few employees who are scattered throughout the grief cycle as depicted below.



Performance Management Tip



Performance Management: Getting to Acceptance!


Imagine you are in a performance discussion and you have just explained to a contact center employee that there is an expectation that they will provide a certain level of customer service experience, which the employee did not achieve.


The employee has responded with "it is not possible to meet the expectations for customer service and complete the call in the allocated timeframe"


This employee is in denial that the goals are achievable.


Now, you draw the grief cycle on a piece of paper, (or you produce one you printed in preparation for the performance discussion), and you advise the employee that they are in denial that the objectives are achievable and that you want to help them to move to accepting accountability for meeting all objectives (you will draw as you talk), you then ask the employee what it would take for them to accept accountability for meeting all objectives. Then you sit in silence (it may be tempting to talk but you wont) until the employee answers the question.


Sample diagram drawn below

Performance management



When the employee answers the question, you get them to write up their commitment in their coaching or performance improvement plan.


If the employee does not answer the question, you simply restate the question again and keep restating the question until the employee answers the question.




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