One simple, practical rule for managers when dealing with your reports. Never do this:

Scary Invite

If you’ve ever received an invite from your boss to meet one-on-one with a topic like “let’s talk” or “please call me” then you know that this will make your imagination run absolutely wild. Most people will immediately assume the worst. Simple solution, just put an agenda. Even just one sentence. The last few times it happened to me, the topic could have been summarized as:

  • I’d like you to take this training
  • We have a new project that needs your help
  • I need to know about a feature in this CMS
  • You’re getting a nice bonus

Of course, not everything is rainbows and sunshine, so if you actually need to give a performance warning, it shouldn’t be a surprise either. Be upfront with your meeting invite. Performance feedback should never be a surprise.