PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL MANAGEMENT
The specific nature of your performance appraisal management will depend on the particular circumstances of your organization.
However, there are general guidelines that will help you keep your performance appraisal management healthy.
Provide feedback all year long
Don’t wait until performance review discussion day to do so – if you only give feedback to your direct reports on such day, it means that you are not doing one of the fundamental tasks that you must be doing: Developing your people.
One of your responsibilities as a direct supervisor – whether you are a new manager or the CEO – is to grow your people.
Adjust goals as needed
Your performance appraisal management must include continuous goal setting – if you provide feedback all year long, you can adjust and fine-tune your specific direct reports’ goals – you might find out that the goals are too ambitious, or that they are not stretching your people enough, or that they are just right.
Again, don’t wait until performance review discussion day to work on your employees’ goals – this is an ongoing task that allows you to deliver results and grow your people at the same time.
This might sound redundant, but it is amazing the number of managers that fail to prepare for the performance review discussion. You must prepare – there is no question about it.
If you are reading this, you are not among the thousands of managers who do performance assessments just because they have to do it and just to get it over with.
If you are reading this, prepare – there is no better way to make sure that your performance appraisal will be sharp and ready to develop your direct report.
Don’t give surprises
In your performance appraisal management there must be no surprises – if you constantly give feedback, on performance review discussion day there should not be surprises at all – it is not fair.
You will waste the performance review discussion opportunity; instead of using it as a development tool (focusing on past accomplishments, areas for improvement, future goals, etc.), you and your direct report will be speaking about issues that could have been resolved long time ago that you might not even remember.
However, if emotions happen to burst out of your employee during the performance review discussion (or in any other day for that matter), a key component of your performance appraisal management is to do two things:
- Listen – keep your mouth shut
- Ask appropriate questions
Think of it as a pressure cooker: In the same way that you must let the steam come out of it before you can open it safely, you must also let your employee vent emotions out (until he has gotten everything off his chest) before it is safe for both of you to deal with the head – the logic. And you do so by just listening (keeping your mouth closed), and by asking intelligent questions.
If you have diligently included the four points above into your performance appraisal management, then you will be able to focus on what matters most during your performance review discussion:Build commitmentStrengthen responsibilityIdentify development needsSet an action planMake sure goals are clearAnd of course, offer valuable and timely feedback
The essence of performance appraisal management is to grow your people by constantly realigning their work, their behaviors, and by identifying opportunities for development.
Note Number One: Build Commitment
How do you build commitment? There are several ways to build commitment among your employees, but one that is closely related to your performance appraisal management, is the relationship between the amount of talking you do as the boss, and the amount of talking your direct report does.
Imagine you have a certain amount of time allotted for your dialogue with your employee (10 minutes for a day-to-day performance conversation, or one hour for your performance review discussion, or whatever).
How do you think you are more likely to build commitment in your performance appraisal management? Do you think you will be able to build more commitment if you – the boss – do most of the talking? Or do you think that you are more likely to build commitment if your direct report does most of the talking?
You are more likely to build commitment in your direct report if he or she does most of the talking – this is a fact.
How do you accomplish such thing if you are the boss, if you are the one who sets the parameters, if you are person responsible in setting the direction?
You accomplish that (allowing your employee to do most of the talking) by asking questions – intelligent questions – questions that will be guiding the conversation in the direction that you set.
This takes a little bit of practice – but it is indeed well worth it – commitment has no price.
Note Number Two: Don’t ever promise anything
You never know what’s coming around the corner – a new technology might come out of the blue and change the competitive landscape all of the sudden, and as a consequence of that, your company might not be able to give you the budget to raise your direct report’s salary (that you were positive you were going to get).
Within your performance appraisal management, don’t ever promise salary increases, promotions, etc., because you just never know. Unfulfilled promises have a devastating effect on motivation. Don’t do it.
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