CBC News: Difficult conversations at work can lead to breakthroughs

Exercising leadership requires the courage and ability to handle tough talks

By Pierre Battah, for CBC News

A friend called recently after initiating a tough talk with his boss. He confided that he was shaking during the talk, had a knot in his stomach from the time he decided he needed to have the exchange and was somewhat relieved but was quite unsure of the outcome. He had a difficult conversation.

The only thing he knew for sure was it was something he needed to do for some time, that he was pleased he had mustered up the courage to have the hard talk and that it had been really challenging. Continue reading

WSJ: Everything Is Awesome! Why You Can’t Tell Employees They’re Doing a Bad Job

New Mantra at Many Workplaces Is ‘Accentuate the Positive’

By RACHEL FEINTZEIG for the Wall Street Journal Feb. 10, 2015 7:18 p.m. ET

If you don’t have anything nice to say, management has a tip: Try harder.

Fearing they’ll crush employees’ confidence and erode performance, employers are asking managers to ease up on harsh feedback. “Accentuate the positive” has become a new mantra at workplaces like VMware Inc., Wayfair Inc., and the Boston Consulting Group Inc., where bosses now dole out frequent praise, urge employees to celebrate small victories and focus performance reviews around a particular worker’s strengths—instead of dwelling on why he flubbed a client presentation. Continue reading

New York Times: No Need to Be Afraid, It’s Just a Performance Review.

Written By ALINA TUGEND for the New York Times.

NANCY MORRIS has been on the giving and receiving end of bad feedback.

Years ago, she was the administrative manager of a mental health unit that was the offshoot of a hospital. When she needed to bring up thorny subjects during performance reviews or at other times with employees, “I didn’t make things clear,” said Ms. Morris, now a specialist in business psychology in Ottawa. “I would be too diplomatic. Then I would get frustrated I wasn’t being understood and I would be too harsh. I sort of missed the part in the middle.” Continue reading

MA Conf For Women SH talk 12.14

Sheila Heen’s talk at MA Women’s Conference Voted #1

Listen to Sheila Heen’s Talk, Voted #1 Session at the Conference

We polled attendees, and hands down, “Understanding the Science and Art of Receiving Feedback to Negotiate What Matters Most,” led by Sheila Heen, a faculty member at Harvard Law School, was the most liked session at the Conference. Find out what the buzz was all about. Share the podcasts with colleagues so you can listen, learn and discuss them at lunch!

FEEDBACK: Evaluation challenge

FEEDBACK: Evaluation challenge The science and art of receiving feedback as a way to improve performance management within organizations is examined

by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone


Duke CE Dialogue Magazine | Jun/Aug 2014

Honest performance conversations don’t happen – at least not as frequently as they should.

It is a complaint that crosses industries, spans geographies, runs up and down the hierarchy, and suffuses organizations large and small. Candid conversations about performance are avoided, soft pedaled or stumbled through. Continue reading

Strategy + Business: It’s Better to Receive Than to Give

Written by Sally Helgesen  for Strategy + Business Published: May 12, 2014 / Summer 2014 / Issue 75

performance-review-mistakes-ftrThe word feedback was coined during the Industrial Revolution to describe how energy, momentum, and signals were returned to their point of origin in a mechanical system. Later, the concept of feedback was instrumental in the development of the electronic circuit. After World War II, feedback was adopted by the emerging field of industrial relations to describe what happened when individuals fed corrective information back to its human point of origin. Continue reading