Modern day employers are increasingly required to adapt to the sensitivities of their employees – particularly when needing to raise performance issues.

Managers and key decision makers need to learn how to have those difficult conversations with employees – a key part of being a good manager.  These conversations should take place in a way that does not demean or intimidate the employee as well as protecting the Company’s position when it comes to being able to defend claims for unfair dismissal, adverse action, bullying and stress.

Similarly employees entering the workforce for the first time will have to develop skills to be able to handle receiving negative feedback about their work performance without escalating it into an allegation of bullying, making it personal with the manager, putting in a worker’s compensation claim or feeling they have to immediately resign.

There has been much debate in recent times about whether the societal movement to shield children from negative feedback and to reward them for ‘participating’ rather than for succeeding, is developing employees without any resilience or any understanding that success and excellence is what is rewarded in the real world.

It is hard to explain that employment related rewards (such as pay rises, bonuses, employee of the month awards etc) should be performance based and earned by sustained excellent performance when an employee has grown up being told that simply participating is worthy of reward.

The fact that there are numerous ‘resilience’ training courses now available for employers and employees is often cited as evidence that society has got it wrong because resilience was, and is, best built up from living through challenging situations, not from attending a course.

Employers and employees should not fear difficult conversations about unsatisfactory performance as these are challenging situations creating opportunities for growth and development (resilience) when handled appropriately.