Why Most Managers Fail In Performance Conversations

Let’s face it, performance reviews are nothing more than a witch hunt. You would know this if you are a manager. While nobody gets burnt at the stake, the negative conversations can surely burn your spirit.

The issue at hand is that when it is conducted, it tends to be negative, constantly focusing on gaps and weaknesses and people leave the review upset. It is really not rocket science to figure out why people are less motivated and unhappy.

So what should I talk about during Evaluation / Performance Review Meetings?

Instead of focusing on what went wrong, it is time to change the conversation to what went right that created success. The focus of the discussion should be on reviewing the strengths displayed, things that worked well and how we can continue to replicate its success. These conversations are empowering and focus on building capability, rather than tearing it down.

When a team spends time in finding out what turned out well in their work, they start noticing patterns, processes, attitudes or behaviours that lead to their success. This increases self-awareness and helps them know that these are essential to doing a good job.

So, the next time you conduct reviews, look into what your team has done well. For things that need to be improved, focus on what are the small steps they need to undertake now to be slightly better. Ask questions like “What are the small steps you need to take?” or “What needs to stop?”

I look forward to hearing better performance conversations.



Picture of Kenneth Kwan, CSP
Kenneth Kwan, CSP

Kenneth Kwan is an internationally recognized Author, Global Leadership and Motivational Speaker, renowned for his ability to inspire and empower audiences worldwide. With over a decade of experience, he has spoken to leaders from 40 countries, helping transform cultures and shift mindsets within Multi-National Companies (MNCs) and Government Organizations. Kenneth’s expertise in solution-focused thinking and strategic planning has guided numerous businesses toward significant results and high-performance environments. Featured in esteemed media outlets like Channel News Asia and Malaysia's BFM89.9, his insights on leadership and motivation are highly sought after. Kenneth's book, "Small Steps To Big Changes," showcases his profound wisdom and practical strategies, making a lasting impact in lectures and training programs across the region.