Navigating Performance Conversations

Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of feedback, performance conversations don’t have to be intimidating. Informal, periodic check-ins or formal end-of-year reviews are opportunities to grow and develop your craft. 

In our panel discussion “Navigating Performance Conversations,” Bernie Carroll (Watershed), Aoife Murphy (HubSpot), Lisa Evans (Donaldson), and Katie Capuzzo (WISE), shared their perspectives on ways you can navigate performance conversations, whether you are giving or receiving feedback. 

Here are some key takeaways to guide you in your professional journey.

It’s better to be given feedback than not. 

If your manager is taking the time to walk through a situation and give advice, it shows they truly care about your development and want you to be successful. Value the feedback, reflect on it, and put improvement measures in place!

Delivery matters.

When giving constructive feedback whether in real-time or at a formal review, consider using methodologies like SBI (situation, behavior, impact) or Radical Candor (care personally and challenge directly). Check in throughout the conversation to ensure the employee understands and be sure to leave room for questions.

This is your sign to manage up.

Most managers want to know what is and isn’t working. We’re all professionals who are looking to improve and develop, so don’t withhold that opportunity for growth. Again, delivery matters so revisit the takeaway above to ensure your point gets across clearly and is ripe for receptivity.

The review rundown. 

Performance conversations can easily give way to recency bias. Avoid this by keeping a folder of your accomplishments throughout the year. Or better yet, create a private Slack channel or email thread between you and your manager to drop in wins and learnings in real-time.

A map for your career journey. 

It’s beneficial to have short and long-term career goals in mind before these conversations. Are you earning (advancing in a familiar role/field) or learning (taking on a new challenge) in your next career move? Consider career opportunities as a chance to add a new skill to your tool belt, so you’re a more well-rounded professional.

The best way to navigate a performance conversation is to prepare so you can go into the meeting with an open mind ready to absorb feedback and with tangible examples to advocate for yourself.

Need some career advice? Ask our experts at

Want to learn more? You can stream the full event recording here.

Thank you to all of the WISE partners for making this event possible and our panelists for sharing their time and advice.