The Art of Positive Performance Reviews

From Talent‘s blog, Performance Management,  author Samuel A. Culbert shares how easy it is to ruin a perfectly good employee. Talent managers want employees to gain useful knowledge from performance reviews. But this is often not the case. In fact, it is often the opposite. In reality, performance reviews prevent employees from addressing their weaknesses. They often prevent employees from developing their talent and inhibit growth in the workplace.

When an employee recognizes and wants to address a weakness, their go-to guru typically isn’t the boss. Although in this context, the boss would be the best candidate for guidance. Why are bosses typically the last resource for support? Culbert says it’s because people resist help from people who they believe can’t put them in proper focus, or who act as fault finders. Employees will seek help from people who understand the way they think and who value what they accomplish. For most employees, performance reviews put the boss at the back of the bus for help. Why?

The performance review is one person’s biased opinion of another person. It’s a one-sided monologue. The boss tells the subordinate what he or she is doing wrong. And if the subordinate disagrees, he or she is labeled as defensive, uncooperative, or unwilling to learn.

Culbert shares that the talent manager can bridge this gap in communication. There is a way for the employee and the manager to interact that results in a win-win. Two things need to be done:

First, get rid of the performance review. No matter how well it’s done, it’s never going to work. Having a boss tell an employee what he or she is doing wrong is a dead-end path to management by intimidation. Second, institute a true conversation where both the boss and subordinate are in it together. Their goal is to work as a team, to figure out what each needs from the other to get the company what it wants. They should both come away satisfied with the outcome.

Most importantly, a boss can learn to ask and listen. Learning about an emplyee’s perspective requires an inquisitive mind and questions. Culbert offers seven pieces of advice for the art of a performance review:

1. Make subordinates see that you understand their perspective.

2. Show subordinates that change is important for the company.

3. Be willing to make exceptions to the rules.

4. Show subordinates how making changes to themselves can make a difference for their own future.

5. Be specific.

6. Avoid comparisons.

7. Use “I” speak.

All of these simple pieces of advice can create a more open forum for communication that will benefit both the boss and the subordinate during ‘performance reviews’. When your employee knows that you are openly listening and discussing what is best for the company, both parties can learn and grow together. To learn more about advice during performance reviews, click here to read the full article.

Post a comment