Over the past several weeks, I’ve consulted with a number of supervisors who have had to give negative performance feedback to one of their employees. For years, I have advised people in this position to follow the PLANNED constructive confrontation model that I wrote about in my blog post of August 9, 2012. The first P stands for prepare, and I advise supervisors to think about the conversation, imagine it going well and write out the first sentence or two; then, commit to memory what they will say to open the meeting. After reading Anna Maravelas’s book on reducing workplace conflic,t I would add her advice: open the conversation in the energy of appreciation. In general, life is a mirror; we get back what we send out. Research done by University of Washington psychologist, Dr. John Gottman, shows that 96% of the time, the conversation will end as it begins. Conversations that started with harsh words and tone resulted in the other party becoming angry and upset. Conversations that began with warmth and appreciation ended with that same positive energy. I do not mean you open the meeting by giving the other person a compliment. Rather, open the conversation by expressing the importance of the relationship. Use words like the following: My goal is to help you be successful in your job and because of that, I need to give you some feedback about your behavior that is stopping that success. Then, proceed to describe the specific behaviors the person is demonstrating that need to change. Remember the old adage – people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Simple appreciation can go a long way in improving on the job performance.