GET REAL

Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Addressing performance on the spot? Keep it private and respectful.

For years, I frequented a restaurant in the city, often choosing it as a place to meet family and friends. The owner seemed very warm and always took a few minutes to say hello and have a pleasant exchange with us. One day, I sat at the counter and witnessed the owner of the restaurant harshly reprimand his employee right in front of me. I no longer chose this restaurant. That was over a decade ago.

The reasons I didn’t go back?…I lost regard for the owner and I was embarrassed for the employee. Neither of these were feelings I would choose to have while eating my dinner. And both feelings diminished my desire to support the business as a customer.

I was reminded of this experience a couple of weeks ago when one of my mom’s doctors did the same in front of her and me, while we were waiting for her appointment. After being harsh with his employee in front of us, he turned to us and said that he wanted us to know that the reason he called her on the carpet was how strongly he felt about the quality of service that was provided to his patients. All I could think of was how he wasn’t thinking about the quality of service he provided his employee, and that he just diminished the quality of the service my mom and I were experiencing.

Sometimes, addressing performance on the spot is necessary, and/or most helpful and effective. But doing it in private and of course maintaining the esteem of the employee while doing it, will only increase the chances of your feedback being heard and considered. —And you’ll maintain the respect of your employees and/or customers.

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