As a corporate associate for over 20 years, I immediately associate December with performance reviews. It’s the time of year when I sit down and think about all of the things I said I would accomplish… and write a long diatribe about how great I did against the goals or the extenuating circumstances that kept me from being great.
I never look forward to hearing what my manager thought about me after a year.
I know many corporations are moving away from annual reviews and adopting a monthly survey check-in. This approach makes more sense to me. Why should you wait an entire year to hear what your leader thinks about your performance?
I do like having a defined cadence to review performance. And I don’t think that it should always be at the end of a thing.
If we don’t keep an eye on our performance and our people’s performance, we may never have a clear perception of how it’s positively or negatively impacting our service and or products. I don’t think that laissez faire is the answer.
I think that relationship building and continuous conversation are the answers. As a leader, you have to watch and evaluate. As a leader you have to pay attention and give feedback.
Let your people know the impact their work has on the company. Or how they could be more impactful. Celebrate them for the way they communicated during a difficult meeting. “You were clear and concise.”
Likewise, the people that we lead should be encouraged to give us a review. Asking meaningful questions like: “Am I helping you in the way that you need to be helped?” is an excellent way to encourage that necessary feedback.
We all know that evaluated performance is a major component of improving. Sometimes it doesn’t feel good. Sometimes it’s rewarding. All the time, it helps us grow.
Create a routine or a series of questions that you routinely pose to ensure that there is bidirectional communication on performance. This doesn’t have to be a drawn out elaborate routine; just tack it on at the end of your weekly or biweekly one-on-one conversations.
A good friend of mine likes to say: not giving your associates clear feedback is unkind. You’re essentially not giving them the opportunity to grow and do better. Let’s be kind. Do not wait until December or some other arbitrary annual date to give someone an evaluation of their performance.
Make it a running conversation so that it’s a partnership where we are working together to get better at our service or craft together.
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