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Holding Difficult Performance Conversations

Let’s be honest: performance conversations can be intimidating and downright scary. So scary that many leaders avoid them at all costs, or dance around the issue by being too soft when they deliver their message. Or worse, are so anxious to get it over with that they hit the employee with a verbal two-by-four and quickly leave the scene with the employee left alone to manage the emotional wake that was created. None of those approaches achieves the intended results of holding performance conversations: improved performance and productive workplace behavior.

In the Holding Difficult Conversations job aid, leaders can learn how to initiate conversations with employees and coworkers that not only hold others accountable for their commitments but strengthens the leaders’ confidence to hold them more often.


Many people hear the term “accountability” and immediately feel threatened or fearful. The negativity associated with this word has, unfortunately, been earned due to its mis-use as a punitive consequence. But, what most people don’t recognize is that accountability is the “secret sauce” in high performing organizations. Developing a culture where people at all levels can be counted on increases shared accountability between teams and departments.