Whether it’s a ‘boss’ giving an evaluation to a report or a member of a team providing it to another team member, providing feedback is a great tool for influencing behaviors and encouraging the learning that will result in an overall improved performance. It facilitates opportunities for general performance growth and development. At least, this is how feedback is supposed to work. As many are only too glad to report, what they experience is not motivating in a positive way and in fact, is often dreaded by both the giver and the recipient.
The following are suggestions that can turn feedback into a win for the recipient, the provider and, most importantly, the organization.
Providing feedback should not be limited to annual review. Rather providing frequent input to someone working to be successful … for the company, the team/department or themselves. It’s the nature of the changes one might be looking to bring about that should dictate the frequency of these conversations. Often times it’s the person who is being reviewed that can best suggest a frequency that can will make sense to them.
- Focus … on the issue or process and not the person:
Expressing a desire to see something done differently for the good of the project or company is a way to engage the other person in driving a solution or change. Making it about what ‘you do’ or how ‘you always …’ has the effect of closing the ears of the recipient and reducing the conversation to one that is defensive, combative or just shut down.
- Enter the conversation … intent on it being a 2-way communication:
If you are delivering the review, do so knowing that there is perhaps another perspective held by the ‘reviewee’. Let that person know that you are presenting a situation about which you have a concern telling them that you definitely want to hear their perspective on the issue. You may learn something that will explain things so as to alter your initial impression.
- What’s going well and what could be better … make it all-encompassing meeting:
It’s just as important the reviewing performance emphasize the successful aspects of the job being done as well as those in need of improvement. Just as we might want to see some change, we also want to reinforce things that are contributing to a successful effort.
- The reviewee’s contribution … bringing their list of things they believe they are doing well and the things they believe they can learn to do better:
It’s a way to set the tone for the 2-way conversation you want and you have set the foundation for a spirited exchange leading to an effective move-ahead plan.
- Be willing to be vulnerable as the reviewer:
You may be the boss however that doesn’t mean that you have or need to have all the answers. You are also a learner which allows you to hear and be influenced in your opinion by the input the the one being reviewed will provide.
A big reason as to why performance reviews get a bad rap is because of the way in which they are handled. It’s understandable that salaries are often reviewed annually. However every person comes to work about 250 days in that same year and changing a performance review into something done with frequency and regularity removes the potential sting, dread and resistance from all sides. If this makes sense to you, you need not wait for someone else to make this happen. Just make the request that you would like to meet … i.e. monthly or quarterly … so as to be able to chart your own progress and related value to your position and the company. If done the right way reviews will move from a thing of dread and resistance to one of valuable anticipation. Now make it happen and at least, try it.