Conducting performance appraisals can be nerve-wracking for even the most seasoned professionals; and especially for new managers. Balancing firmness and humility, openness to feedback and the ability to admit to mistakes are some leadership competencies that need mastering. How should they prepare themselves for the task?
With appraisal season comes the need for managers to start considering how to give each member of their team honest, sincere feedback in the best, most productive way possible. For managers, developing this approach starts with an appreciation and recognition of each members’ strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs.
How to have an effective communication
Having short, but frequent discussions with team members will lead to an in-depth understanding of how to inspire and empower them. These conversations should pave way for opportunities for collaboration, teamwork and external networking.
Striking a good balance between firmness and humility, being open to feedback and having the ability to admit to mistakes are some of the more difficult leadership competencies to master, but some of the most valuable ones as well. Team members look for assured leadership, but they also want to be supported and treated with humility as they strive to improve themselves.
No matter what the components of your performance review process, the first step should always be goal setting, since it is imperative that the employee knows exactly what is expected in terms of performance.
“Effective managers shouldn’t discuss positive performance and improvement areas alike. By doing this, the performance review discussion becomes merely a re-iteration of critical points which have already been communicated. A significant component of this evaluation discussion is to share with the team how the organization will assess performance and help them to understand that if goals are met, they will be considered as performers.”
During preparation and goal setting, clarify how you will evaluate the employee’s performance. Describe exactly what you’re looking for from the employee and exactly how you will assess their performance. Discuss with the employee their role in the evaluation process. If your organization’s performance review process includes an employee’s self-evaluation, share the form and explain what it entails.
A great way to think about the goals that you as a manager are setting with your team is to keep them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Result-oriented, and Time-phased
The goal of the appraisal is to ensure that the one being appraised sees the need for change, wants to advance, believes that they can, and makes it a personal goal to take action. Without their buy-in, all the other steps are meaningless. Feedback, being an integral part of the process, can come in the form of positive and negative words, gestures, and even silence. Managers need to create a situation where in the recipient will appreciate their perspective and learn, as opposed to being defensive.
While coaching, managers should bear in mind that feedback should be provided in a way that is sincere and allows the other person to hear what they are saying. For both top and poor performers, managers ought to posit feedback in terms of a “stop, start, and continue” model.
Because negative feedback is detrimental to engagement levels, knowing how to coach and encourage positively is definitely a competency all managers should be trained on. Undesired feedback can cause the recipient to shut down entirely and not really hear or learn from what is being said.
Positive feedback, on the other hand, is one of the most motivating factors for employees. Managers should be sincere and specific while giving it – pinpoint exactly which instances made the employee in question come out as a performer.
Recognition can be difficult to express in the workplace, but in order to reward people, not only must we acknowledge their accomplishments, but we must also be comfortable verbalizing recognition.
This begins with priming ourselves to look for the positive and be happy to express appreciation. Once we begin to recognize others, they become increasingly more driven to do a great job and receive increased credit. This creates an atmosphere where improvement is strived for and positive results are achieved.
During the review, stay positive that certain skills and performances are improving. Treat the activity as a great way to further motivate engaged employees and spark their enthusiasm. If there is a problem area in achieving desirable outcomes, describe a need for change as a prospect to learn and grow. When managers and leaders praise, reward and set great examples, employees are motivated to achieve more and to provide superior results.