Step 3: Stage the Encounter
This is a crucial step. Hold the meeting on neutral ground. Give the employee sufficient advance notice (a day or so) but emphasize that no materials or preparation are needed. Say that the meeting is not a formal appraisal but a chance to review and revise working relationship. Then you start the meeting by an affirmative assertion, i.e. you affirm the employee’s past and future value to the company and your desire for a mutually beneficial outcome to the meeting. After the “soft-hand” introduction you’ll then need to do leverage questioning. Your aim is to test the hypotheses you have formulated in the course of developing the picture of the situation. The warning for managers is that don’t slip back into telling and selling, shoveling facts and arguments onto the employee.