Ahh, performance reviews. Meaningful exercise or meaningless chore?
In our company, performance reviews are an annual formalized summary of feedback conversations that were, hopefully, ongoing all year. We discuss successes, missed opportunities, strengths, and key behaviors. We create goals and agree on action plans to achieve them.
If we’ve been providing appropriate feedback all along, then the review is really a simple conversation. However, that simple conversation can be a difficult one, especially if we are recapping lapses in performance, failure to meet goals, or discussing action plans to improve unacceptable performance or behaviors.
We might worry about how to present the criticism with an eye toward succcess. We fear the person may get emotional. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, yet need to deliver a clear message.
One of my favorite quotes about critical feedback discussions comes from an April 5, 2013 NY Times article by Alina Tugend titled “How to Give Effective Feedback.” In it, Tugend wrote:
If we look at feedback as an opportunity to make someone work better rather than feel better, we’re more likely to do it successfully.
It’s about the work and how to make the work better. Stay focused on the work performance or the on-the-job behaviors that need to improve. If your team member realizes that critical feedback is not a personal attack but is aimed at improving their performance with an eye toward professional success, a healthy conversation can take place and a positive outcome is more likely.
What tips can you share with team for successful performance discussions?
Tuesday Tidbits are weekly messages I send to my leadership team. They are generally short & sweet, often focused on leadership or teamwork, always positive and, hopefully, motivational. I hope you also find some meaning in them.