What I Learned from Negotiating Performance with Employees

It took me a long time before I fully accepted that performance intervention was a negotiation between my employees and I. After all, performance review is for both sides to agree on:

How we understand the expectations
How we assess the performance
What to do about it

There were two books on negotiation that everyone pointed me to- “Getting to Yes” and “Never Split the Difference.” Some lessons I got out from them:

1. It’s all about the emotions, stupid.
2. It’s not about compromises.
3. Shut the F up.

1st, whenever I anchored myself on their emotions, I have found myself aiming more at calming than winning.

2nd, instead of compromises/win-win, look for overlaps and gaps. Start with overlaps- opportunities for collaboration. Then look at gaps- opportunities to adjust performance.

Ultimately, this has turned into a practice of restraint. The only way I could listen more is to speak less. I thought I was good at it but boy was I wrong. When I started to pay attention to how much I spoke, I realised I was such a smart ass. I loved pointing at the issues. I summarised prematurely. I couldn’t not resist listening to my own opinions and solutions.

That’s right. Negotiate, and #bossbetter.

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