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Confronting Poor Performers With Finesse

The fifth in the series of the SELT Professional Development sessions for 2000-01 was held on Wednesday, April 25, 2001 in the Alumni Hall, SJU.  Approximately 55 supervisors were in attendance at the breakfast program.

The session was led by Mary Darnall, Director of Operations in Fine Arts Programming with 23 years of experience; Deb Guertin, Music Department Coordinator with 18 years of experience; and Bonnie Kalla, Joint Circulation Manager for the CSB/SJU Libraries with 22 years of experience.  This presentation began with a very well performed role play by our presenters. This entertaining role play laid the ground work for the tips sheet, the examples of written warning letters, and tons of experience sharing that followed.

This presentation let participants know that they are not the only staff facing these problems, and that there are many faculty and staff willing to assist each other in the process of confronting poor performers.

Notes from the Presentation

No-No’s When Confronting a Poor Performer

  • Do not discuss the actions of the student with others until you have approached the student about the problem
  • Do not wait until after an extended period of time to approach a student hoping that the problem will fix itself.
  • Do not compare a student to others while in the company of others. Confrontation should take place in private.
  • Do not confront a student while angry. Do not attack a student.
  • Do not confront a student employee without a plan of action.
  • Do not look down upon a student. Confront them in a setting that allows for eye-to-eye communication

Group Scenario List of Tips for Confronting Poor Performers

  • Don’t make assumptions, find out what is really going on with a student
  • Be creative in scheduling—allow for the proper time management
  • Make students accountable to their peers in there performance when appropriate
  • Establish time-lines, be task specific, and prioritize
  • Have a student log with peer evaluation and then check in
  • Get all sides of an issue and then respond to complaints
  • Mediate by helping students to work through issues together
  • Be aware of different levels of comfort and help other students to be aware too
  • Share an issue with others when appropriate (positive complaining)
  • Consult counseling staff and be aware of need-to-know
  • If students are in need of work:  Ask/Offer services to other departments (i.e. mass mailings)

April 25, 2001