A foundation conversation is required when you need to give difficult feedback.
Managers will sometimes need to have difficult conversations with one or more of the team. This maybe about performance, behaviours, their attitude, or about passing comments they make. Whatever the reason, giving feedback is made much more difficult if you have not had a foundation conversation.
A foundation conversation establishes the basis for giving feedback, or commenting on performance. It is a conversation between you and one of your team, in the format of a one to one. The subject is how you work together. You won’t discuss the actual work, but how you work. Their expectations of the role, of your role and of what is required. What will happen if performance issues arise. What they need to do if they have any questions. The culture of the team and the organisation.
The conversation establishes how you are going to work together. It creates a foundation on which difficult conversations can be based in the future.
So when you think something needs to be said you both have a reference on which to say it.
Ideally you will have this conversation at the start of your working relationship, but it is more important to have the conversation, even if you’ve been working together for a while.