Many people want to be liked. Problems arise, however, when a supervisor’s desire to be liked prevents them from pointing out deficiencies in an employee’s work. Pointing out deficiencies is a way for supervisors to help their workers understand what they need to do to succeed. It’s a way of giving employees a chance to make the adjustments necessary to meet the employer’s expectations. You don’t want to exaggerate faults or get overly personal, obviously. But supervisors are paid to help their workers perform at their highest level and they can’t do that without letting people know where they can improve.

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Unfortunately, candid, thoughtful performance evaluations aren’t as common as they should be. That is why, as I’ve explained before, employment defense lawyers often cringe when they see favorable performance reviews of an employee who was terminated for poor performance. For more advice on performance reviews, read this post on 8 Tips for Writing Performance Reviews Your Lawyer Won’t Hate.

Even coldhearted lawyers understand this desire to be liked. We mock it as a sign of weakness, but we understand it. So if you’re a supervisor and you want to be liked by your workers, get there by being someone who will give them straightforward, honest feedback about what they need to do better.