The most important part of defining (and understanding) a performance problem is separating the facts from your judgments and opinions. Facts are observable - the things you know for sure because they are seen or heard. Judgments, on the other hand, represent opinions and conclusions. They are relative and subjective. They attack a person rather than the problem - increasing the odds that the employee will respond defensively. And that gets in the way of effective problem solving. But what if my judgment is correct and accurate? you may ask. Well, that really doesn't matter! Opinions are debatable ("I don't do that a lot"."There's nothing wrong with my attitude"), but it's hard to dispute facts. So don't get hung up with judgments and generalities. If you have the facts, stick to them. If you don't have the facts, GET THEM.before you talk! That way, you and the employee can spend your time working on solutions rather than debating the existence of problems. And that's one less headache for you!

Tip from Positive Discipline: How to Resolve Tough Performance Problems Quickly.and Permanently

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