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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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Resource Center for Addressing and Resolving Poor Performance

Effective Counseling Tips

Following are tips to help you prepare for and conduct effective counseling sessions:

check mark Before counseling, make sure you can state clearly what would constitute acceptable performance.
check mark Whenever possible, conduct the counseling session in a private place.
check mark Arrange adequate time for your comments as well as comments from the employee.
check mark Clearly state performance expectations and seek confirmation that the employee understands those expectations.
check mark Focus on the poor performance, not on personalities or other distractions.
check mark Always maintain a constructive tone, along with a calm and professional demeanor.
check mark Seek cooperation, NOT confrontation.
check mark Remember that your goal is to improve the employee's performance, not to win an argument with the employee.
check mark Try to end the session on a positive note by emphasizing that your mutual goal is improving the employee's performance.

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