How many people do you think have been discouraged, angry, bitter or frustrated enough to flip their companies off because they have been surprised at receiving a poor performance review? My guess is that there are tens of thousands. Let’s set the stage a bit here. I’m not referring to the employee who really should get a poor performance review because they really have performed poorly. I’m referring to the person who does their job well above average, contributes to the department, is liked by the peer group and gets recognized for the value they bring to the company.
Here is where the review process can start to spiral. Our imaginary employee is going on their merry way feeling good about where they’re at. Enter the boss or manager or career climber; they sit our unsuspecting employee down and proceed to inform them of all the ways they need to change in order to be effective. The employee takes it in, asks questions (which the reviewer may or may not know how to answer), leaves the room and does a slow burn for the next couple of weeks, affecting the quality of their work and ultimately their desire to stay with the company. And this all happened because some nitwit manager doesn’t understand people or how to communicate!
Before employees are promoted to any management position they should be thoroughly introduced to some elementary communication skills like NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming) or something similar to it. Their employees should be assessed using any one of the many personality/style assessments on the market. The manager should be assessed as well. The manager should get his or her head out of their respective asses and think about how to relate messages to people, messages that are relevant to employee’s performance, their future with the company and maybe their own happiness. How hard is this? Based on some of the horror stories I’ve heard it must be difficult!
Here are some basic tips for all the twits who don’t understand that performance reviews can adversely affect people:
Keep the performance reviews on performance issues, not personality styles.
If you have to critique someone do so using specific work-related situations.
Do not bring in other employees during the review or use feedback from other employees “to make a point”.
Communicate the review using a style similar to the style of the person being reviewed. (If you’re an arm waving, outgoing, expressive like me wouldn’t it make sense for me to calm down a little if I were reviewing a calm, serene analytical person?)
For the love of God and everything that is good on earth please ask the employee how they feel about the review so you can get hard feelings (if there are any) out into the open!
Always, always spend time at the beginning of the review on all the things the employee does correctly.
If you want the employee to change then give them specific situations and ways they can affect change.
And here are my last words on this. During the time between reviews document those situations where you observe the employee executing their job unsatisfactorily and use these “specific examples” during the review to illustrate your point. Do me a favor folks. Would you please forward this post along to people. Some really stupid manager out there may, just may get the point!
The Final Thought: We must become the change we want to see. Mahatma Gandhi. (The underlining was done by the author of this post.)