Talk Once A Day, Not Once A Year

Managers are responsible for the positive performance of the people in their team. This means having regular feedback sessions. But managers can be extremely reluctant to do this.performance-reviews
A lasting legacy of poorly designed appraisal systems is that managers can have a negative association of the perfectly sensible management activity of setting goals and giving feedback to improve performance.

Indeed one of the most common explanations for ineffective performance management is the reluctance of managers to have tough conversations with their team members at a stage when these conversations would be most effective i.e. early on when performance starts to drop.

This reluctance is understandable as telling someone that what they’re doing isn’t good enough challenges a number of fairly universal human desires. According to Maslow’s theory of motivation humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups: we all want to be liked and most of us do not want to upset other people. It is no wonder most managers would rather avoid such situations!

But as we have mentioned in previous blogs, regular dialogue between the manager and the team member is a crucially part of helping your people achieve stretching goals.

Where managers talk about goals and performance every day, giving feedback becomes natural and easy. By regularly reviewing together what is realistic, what resources are available and whether the process can be streamlined the manager will understand what constitutes a stretching challenge for their team member - and the team member is reassured that they have the skills, resources and the support they need to achieve the goals.

The added advantage of discussing performance on a regular basis is that the annual performance review, sometimes called an appraisal, becomes an opportunity to celebrate and take stock. You might even find yourself looking forward to it!

Of course, the optimum time between review sessions will be different for different types of team member and for different types of role. The key is for managers to remain flexible, ready to spot problems and acting quickly to ensure they continue to get the best possible performance from their people.