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  • Writer's pictureRachel Turner

How to talk to a problem employee about their poor performance

Updated: May 1, 2023

As seen on Fast Company

Summary: Rachel Turner, cofounder of VC Talent Lab and author of The Founder’s Survival Guide. provides a step-by-step guide to having difficult conversations with the underperformers on your team.

This article provides practical advice for managers on how to handle difficult conversations with team members about underperformance, a topic that many managers find uncomfortable to broach, emphasising the importance of balancing the demands of the business in terms of performance and behaviour standards with responsibility and care toward employees. Managers need to be brave, kind, and use clean language when communicating with their teams. Learn a three-step process for delivering feedback in a constructive and solutions-focused manner, which includes preparing feedback, signposting feedback, and delivering feedback.

Having tough conversations can be challenging, but suggests that avoiding them or having them poorly can cause more damage. New leaders, especially those of rapidly scaling businesses, should view these conversations as an opportunity for growth and development. By following the Manage Mindset Formula of being brave, kind, and clean, managers can create a safe and constructive environment for feedback, which can help their direct reports improve and ultimately benefit the business.


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