This is a venomous story that happened to me when I was a sales manager. Under no circumstances should you try this at home!
Here was the situation. I was a young pup, somewhere around 40 years of age. I had been managing sales people for several years. I was also outspoken, cantankerous, a bit cocky and “in your face” when the situation warranted. Usually, I was all these things as I dealt with managers above me. The specific events that lead up to this situation are long forgotten but the lesson is worth repeating.
The company’s management group was in Tahoe for a three day planning meeting. At the time I was due to receive my annual performance review. I’ve never been a huge favorite of annual reviews because they cram a year’s worth of behavior into 5 pages and this is nearly an impossible task. I also believe that the annual review puts too much pressure on the sales manager and does an injustice to the sales rep. If the manager has not kept good notes during the year then it will be hard to prepare a quality performance review. If the review is sub-par then the sales rep may be unclear about what he or she needs to do to improve.
Back to Tahoe. After a day of meetings I returned to my room and found that my boss had slid the performance review under the door. Hmmmmm. I picked it up and read it. And I was steamed! The review was not a warm fuzzy. It had more than a few harsh criticisms of my performance as a manager. Yes there were action steps for me to take. Some of the criticisms were warranted and some were from another planet. On hindsight I got what I deserved but at the time it was a shock.
The key point is that my boss never bothered to give me the review face to face! This is really a management sin. I knew why the guy did not want to do it face to face but still, that’s his job. Regardless of how bad a review is you have the responsibility to give performance reviews face to face. It’s the only professional way to do it.
The Final Thought: Nothing big ever came from being small.