I’ve seen some managers try to address a poor performer and they avoid telling the problem employee what the problem is, , , they avoid the real discussion that’s needed.
You can’t do this; it isn’t fair to the employee. If the person is not performing up to the level needed to succeed, you owe it to the employee to let him know. To avoid this is failing as a manager and also failing to support both the problem employee and the rest of your team, , , plus failing your company.
It’s not negative to tell an employee they are not doing well and then list specific examples of why that’s the case. It’s actually a positive, , , especially if the employee rectifies the situation and becomes successful as a result.
Many managers don’t like conflict so they avoid discussing the problem. When you do, you are letting everyone down including yourself. Prepare for the meeting, get your facts together, be prepared to show the employee what he needs to do differently to be successful and be supportive in your efforts, , , you can avoid conflict when you are genuinely trying to help the employee succeed, , , but you ultimately create a real conflict of some kind down the road if you allow a poor performer to continue along without telling him about the problem.
If there is an “elephant in the room”, be sure to point it out and be direct, honest, and supportive in your discussions.