During performance reviews, use clear, nonjudgmental language that focuses on results and behavior. Notice the positive and negative aspects of these statements:

The example turning a negative into a positive

• “Your work has been sloppy lately.” (Negative: too vague)
• “Your last three reports contained an unacceptable number of statistical errors.” (Positive: cites specifics)

• “You’re obviously not a mathematician.” (Negative: focuses on the person, not on performance)
• “I know you’re capable of producing more accurate work.” (Positive: reaffirms confidence in employee’s abilities)

• “Don’t let it happen again.” (Negative: blanket demands)
• “How can we prevent errors from creeping into reports?” (Positive: asks for feedback on improving performance)



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