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See it and say it’ is one of the most powerful lessons I have learnt throughout my management career when it comes to managing staff performance.

I learnt this technique from a Regional Sales Manager who worked at a large company (where I was in HR) and was responsible for managing 14 outlets across the country. The amazing thing was, she never seemed to experience any problems when it came to staff performance. To find out why, I spent time with her every day for about a week visiting her stores and watching her work with her store managers. At the end of the week I asked her what her secret was, why her store managers seemed to have the ability and confidence to manage performance issues so confidently and quickly. She told me that they live by one performance management philosophy and that was – “SEE IT AND SAY IT.

The key to this management technique is to see the unacceptable behaviour and say something to the employee the first time you see it. By not ‘calling it’ a manager risks sending the wrong message to the employee by allowing them to be late or continue the behaviour or poor performance for weeks or months before pulling them up on it.

The longer you leave ‘saying it’ the more difficult the conversation becomes for you. It’s a bit like pulling your husband up for leaving the toilet seat up after not saying anything for five years! I know that some managers may find it harder to discipline employees if they have worked together for a long time, not wanting to be the bearer of bad news. But the longer it is left, the harder it will be to deliver the unpopular news and to then be able to justify why the behaviour or standard of performance is all of a sudden not acceptable. Even harder is when someone is promoted to a management position and unsure of how to handle their new found authority. More often than not, staff may find it difficult to accept their new found authority and as a result the manager in question can quickly lose confidence in their abilities.

So I encourage all managers to “see it and say it”, because being inconsistent as a manager will send mixed messages to staff regarding your performance expectations.

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Tina Radford

Tina Radford

Tina Radford is the founder and Managing Director of HR Business Solutions. She is a firm believer that implementing the right HR solution can make a fundamental impact to the overall performance and effectiveness a company’s most valuable asset – staff. In her blog, Tina brings a refreshingly different style and substance to the typical corporate HR presentation.

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