Spooky Performance? Giving Feedback to the Sanderson Sisters in Your Organization


The Sanderson Sisters are coming out to play this Halloween, and as a manager or department lead, you can’t let them put their spell on you. If you’re finding your performance is flying out the window on a broom, here’s how to work your own magic to keep your performance management in line during this Halloween season.

Tweet This: Do you have Sanderson Sister employees? Take a look how to manage their performance:


Distractions come easy, and if you have employees who always have excuses for this, that and the other, you have a Sarah Sanderson on your hands. Instead of letting this office manipulator get away with luring employees into traps, ask them these questions:

  • How do you work best?
  • What don’t you like about my management style?
  • What are your goals this week?

Tweet This: 3 questions to ask your low-performing employees to rejigger motivation:

Maybe your Sarah needs a change of pace, a different seating arrangement to eliminate distractions, a headset to zone in on work, a set list of goals to meet each week to create accountability. Whatever it may be, these questions help guide the less motivated employee to a more custom workplace for them.

  • When giving feedback, don’t allow this employee to foist responsibilities onto others.
  • Give positive reinforcement for a job done well and show them how they focused and showed self-reliance to complete the job.
  • Offer clear goals that only he or she can complete to avoid miscommunications.
  • Encourage other employees to loop you in when work starts getting shifted.

Especially with employees who are tougher to motivate, being present as a supervisor is vital. Employees who say they have more supportive supervisors are 67% more engaged. Be informal, stop by their desk or shoot an email to keep the performance watch casual not to pressure the unmotivated.


The “yes” people, or the employees who are too afraid to say no are the Mary Sanderson’s of your office. If you find ‘Mary’ never saying no to a project or request, chances are you’ll notice Mary staying late, missing deadlines and beginning to burnout. The Marys of the office want to present a calming influence on their “Winnifreds” (the boss), but need a little direction not to turn completely burnt and, well, start barking like a dog! Maureen Hoersten, Chief Revenue Officer for LaSalle Network said,

“Ultimately, the best way to stop burnout from sinking your top-performing employees in the first place is to meet with them early and often. Open lines of communication don’t just help cure burnout, they can also prevent it in the first place.”

  • Remind the Marys they have help all around them.
  • Change up their assignments to reignite the flame and allow for some responsibility shuffling.
  • Take charge of these employees who won’t say no or admit to falling apart.
  • Build them up and encourage them to ask for support when they need it.

Tweet This: How to manage employees who won’t say no or admit to burnout:


Some people were born leaders, others were born “knowing it all,” if you ask them. Do you see a Winnifred Sanderson bossing people around and taking all the work for themselves in your office? Here’s your quick trick book of how to manage your “Winnie”:

  • Give them leadership or training roles with strict guidelines and thorough onboarding
  • Provide frequent, positive and constructive feedback on the way they give others feedback and handle management
  • Assign duties that are easily trackable to assess strengths and improvements of their goals
  • Help them deliver constructive feedback to team members to avoid having them steamroll their colleagues.

Frequent feedback is a strong component when managing the Winnifreds of today’s workforce because while sassy and temperamental, they are very loyal. Give them your honest to goodness two cents from your own experienced, managerial standpoint and they will take this advice to heart in their position.

Don’t let the Sanderson Sisters of your office keep you hiding under your desk. Identify tendencies and apply specific tactics of how each person needs to be managed. Ask employees during your next performance review what you can do for them as a manager to make their job easier (within reason). Switch the spell onto them with your wickedly effective new performance management tactics and find your performance flying off the broom!

What tactics have you found to be the most effective in your journey to managing the “Sanderson Sisters” in your organization? Share with us @reviewsnap

Haven’t found a tactic that works for you yet? We know a place that can help. Watch a completely free demo.


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