Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Performance Reviews

I'm in the middle of writing performance reviews for my team at work. I would hazard to guess that 99% of management hates doing performance evaluations.  Mostly because they suck at it. And, why do they suck at it? Because it's a totally unnatural thing for two adults to sit in an office and discuss the frailties of the subordinate. We spend our normal adult life pussy-footing around each other, being polite and remembering to be non-judgmental. We go to great lengths to avoid upsetting one another (except when we're driving and are protected by the 1/2 ton of steel that separates us) even lying to one another just to protect the others feelings. But at review time, the gloves come off. Suddenly, it's ok to talk about "issues" and how to correct behaviors.

This is such an onerous task for managers that there are books and videos and how-tos about "delivering effective feedback". I was regaling Bill with some dos and don't of delivering effective feedback (since I had viewed a video just 3 hours prior) last night at dinner. After laughing about it, we then looked at each other sheepishly with what I can only characterize as "recognition". We both agreed that we could use help in this area.  One thing about Bill, he is self-aware. He knows his short-comings (no pun intended) and is always willing to try to improve. I'm much more reticent about change...yet another thing I have to work on.  Usually those management books make some sense, but the managers who need to learn from them do not READ them. They either blunder through the review (making the work relationship worse) or they avoid it all together - leaving the employee feeling un-appreciated and forgotten.

There is, however,  one easy way to fix this problem for managers. And, I have figured it out. Make sure your team members (a) like their jobs; (b) are professional; (c) are good at what they do; and (d) are smart.  That's the secret to my success. Oh, and we conduct our reviews over breakfast. Whoops - forgot one ... (e) think breakfast is the most enjoyable meal of the day!

Come to think of it, maybe I don't have to change at all.

1 comment:

  1. I used to work at the Niagara Gazette and we had to do performance reviews and I hated it, hated it. I thought it was so unnatural and weird and when I got out of there I always felt as if I wanted to wash out my mouth. When I got to The Buffalo News one thing I could not believe my luck, that there were no more performance reviews.