Two Conversations – No Surprises

I started my career with a franchise centre of NIIT at Vizag. My very first corporate lessons were learnt there. One important lesson that stayed with me throughout my career was about two conversations that should never come as a surprise. One, the appraisal conversation and second, the “letting go” or termination.

If either of these conversations come as a surprise then the manager is at fault ! It basically means that the manager did not conduct regular 1:1’s and the employee was blindsided.

Recently I was thrilled to see this fantastic quote from Adam Grant on LinkedIn saying exactly the same thing.

Conversations Adam Grant

This is so true ! If you do not provide regular feedback to your team member, then the appraisal conversation will be a surprise.

Sometimes, some employees have to be terminated because there are performance issues or unethical/inappropriate behaviour. Some of these termination conversations may not happen with a lot of notice and surprise may be a necessity.

We had a super performer who won the manager of the quarter award and the very next week, we had complaints about inappropriate behaviour. The manager was terminated post investigation and well, he was surprised. In my opinion he should have seen it coming … character and competence, both are equally important. One without the other doesn’t work in the long run.

If you manage people, ensure that you have regular formal and informal conversations. I would strongly recommend making copious notes of the formal meetings and documenting important points via email. What’s not documented isn’t happening/wasn’t said. That’s the next blog 😁


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