How to get these regular performance, feedback, and development conversations right and how to deal with conflict.

Focussing on next steps rather than last month got the best results. All it needs is a little chat.


Managers have always had performance-related discussions with employees. However, the growing trend towards more frequent and informal reviews means that those conversations, and the consequences of them, happen more frequently.

Video Arts latest collection shows how to get these regular performance, feedback, and development conversations right and how to deal with conflict.

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Micro goals

Micro goals give people something precise to aim for during a short timescale – depending on the activity, that timescale could be between now and the next monthly review or it could be between now and the end of a 1-hour meeting.

Performance versus career development

Managers sometimes need a ‘nudge’ and the skills to include personal and career development in the one-to-ones they hold with staff. When they see developing staff as a legitimate part of their responsibilities, benefits begin to flow.

Questions to help staff think about their development

Encourage people to give themselves time to think about how they want or need to develop their career and what actions to take next.

Appreciating development

Helping staff appreciate how much they are developing motivates them, so use thought-provoking questions to encourage them to recognise their own personal development.

Helping your manager discuss your development

Anyone can use feedback as a springboard to a request for development, so link your request for development to something your manager regards as important.

Three styles of feedback

The ‘cop’ is very clear about what needs to be done differently and why, the instructor is equally clear but blends in more motivation and the coach facilitates greater reflection.

Asking for feedback about oneself

The question, ‘Have you any feedback for me?’ is rarely productive. There are two questions, however, that are productive. Including them will be very useful for getting feedback.

Third-party feedback

These days so many people work in matrix teams or work remotely that managers receive feedback about their staff from third parties. Relaying that feedback can sometimes be a challenge.

How to receive feedback

An important aspect of feedback conversations is showing staff how to help their managers give them worthwhile feedback.

Between one-to-ones

Between one-to-ones, look for evidence of performance and changes in behaviour and agree on actions to work on by the next one-to-one. Keep notes and tie your meetings together by reflecting on progress over a longer period of time.

Preparing for a one-to-one

Review your notes and evaluate performance since the last meeting. Get third party feedback if necessary and identify upcoming challenges and opportunities that require extra support.

Running a one-to-one

Keep the conversation focused and be aware of distraction techniques! Caring about your colleagues is a sign of a healthy working relationship, so let it flourish in your one-to-ones.

What is a ‘one-to-one’?

One-to-ones are the short, regular chats that bridge the gap between spontaneous day-to-day conversations and formal reviews. They work best when managers encourage reflection and the main focus is on what happens next.

Early warning signs

As most problems are resolved most easily when they are nipped in the bud, managers should learn to recognise the warning signs that appear.

Preparing yourself for a conflict conversation

Some managers have a combative approach to conflict. A subtle approach is usually more effective and begins with some simple mental and tactical preparation.

Opening a conflict conversation

There are occasions when a manager will initiate a conversation to resolve conflict and the opening is crucial to success.

Unexpected conflict

When a manager is on the receiving end of unexpected conflict, how he or she responds is vital to a successful outcome.

Handling conflict conversations:

Handling conflict situations

Managers need to learn effective ways to gain control of the conversation and direct it towards a successful conclusion.

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Mark Helen Baxendale
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