Part 1: Improving Employee Performance Through Courteous Remedial Coaching: ‘Manager First’

If your boss was disappointed in your performance, how would you want them to address it?

There are a few options. Sudden termination (see my other article on surprise firing practices). Passive/aggressive complaining. Blame game. Drawing comparisons. No. You would want them to take responsibility first. To share the load of culpability. This is what teams do.

Recognize that to affect change in others, the boss must affect change in themselves by taking responsibility for poor performance of those in their care. To be clear, if an employee is unsuccessful it is their manager’s fault regardless of circumstances. That doesn’t mean their won’t be consequences on the underperforming employee, but the responsibilities and consequences start with the manager.

‘Manager First’

Operating ‘manager first’ in diagnosing employee performance problems provides a few key benefits. First, it reinforces the idea that organizations are inherently ‘people first’ meaning if a manager is hiring the wrong people they already started on the wrong track. Employees do not bear the blame of poor hiring decisions. Managers with interviewing and hiring responsibility should take their roles seriously because companies live and die based on the quality of their teams.

If a manager is hiring the wrong people (unethical, unmotivated, poor communicators, poor listeners, incompetent) then the first step to take is to review the criteria with which candidates are being assessed. In my experience, the vast majority of hiring decisions are made on a gut feeling with little intentional mental energy devoted towards identifying the company hiring criteria and how the candidate ranks in each category. We all hire people we like, and there is nothing wrong with this, we just have to make sure our ‘likability’ meters are calibrated correctly for long-term business success. There are plenty of great people out there you should NOT hire.

About the author

TJ Kastning is the principal of Ambassador Search Group, a boutique recruiting agency passionate about finding excellent professionals for amazing construction companies.

Send us your recruiting and hiring questions for our ‘This Week’s Questions’ series

Leave A Comment

Recent Articles


Author: TJ Kastning

TJ Kastning is the proud owner of Ambassador Search Group, a special high-touch, trust-based, old-fashioned headhunting firm serving only the best west coast companies.

To contact him email

View His Bio.