One of the responsibilities of an executive is to evaluate an employee’s performance, acknowledge their successes in producing a product, as well as to rebuke and correct lack of results. In times when When it’s necessary to rebuke or correct somebody, executives often make this common mistake – they criticize the person instead of their performance. As a result, the employee’s self-esteem goes down; they become discouraged and produces even less than before.
When it is necessary for an executive to point out the lack of results, they have to understand very clearly the difference between the person’s character and their performance. One’s personality is determined by his character, goals, intentions, knowledge, experience and so on. Performance is something quite different. It is the tangible results the employee produced, it is not the person himself. It makes no sense to invalidate the employee’s personality if you want to get more results from him. On the contrary, it is necessary to acknowledge him as a person, which does not prevent you from criticizing poor results.
When somebody wants to hurt another person, they always attack their personality. After all, the worst insults are attributing some kind of humiliating qualities to them or forcing them into a degrading role. Calling somebody a “blithering idiot” is criticizing their personality; it’s an attempt to convince a person that they are extremely stupid. Therefore, when an executive criticizes an employee’s personality, the employee simply breaks off communication and shuts down, which makes it impossible to correct the employee’s performance. This usually occurs only when the executive does not understand the difference between criticizing a person and criticizing the results from production.
For instance, a salesman failed to close a deal. They made a mistake that resulted in the loss of a potential client. The executive should point out the lack of positive results, but at the same time acknowledge the salesman’s personality. For example: “You have a lot of experience in sales and you’ve closed many deals. Your work is very important for the company and we count on you. This deal went badly and instead of getting the contract, we’ve lost a client. This is can’t happen again and I expect that from you. Your experience and knowledge are valuable for the company, but in this case, you weren’t able to close the sale and you need to find a way to correct that. I know you are completely capable of that!”
Put yourself in the salesman’s shoes — How would you feel? I’m quite sure you would not feel upset and wouldn’t try to prove yourself right. You can see that in this simple example the executive is acknowledging the salesman’s personal qualities while directly criticizing the results of his work. Thus, they ensure that the employee understands that the results were poor while preserving The desire to work.
If you learn to criticize results so that it does not invalidate an employee’s personality, you will gain their cooperation and will be able to do your work as an executive very effectively.