Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Leadership Performance Management: Reviewing the Reviewer

For a lot of companies, Q1 is performance review time. Given the economic hurdles of the last few years, most employees are hoping that their efforts will be acknowledged by their managers, even if they can't be rewarded with the substantial raises and bonuses of years past. But what if the manager is the one in the review hot seat? And what if that manager has exhibited some serious performance gaps during the last 12 months? How do you provide constructive performance feedback to a performance manager?

When giving feedback to someone in a leadership role, make sure that you have all of the facts and data to back up performance conclusions. Acknowledge positive performance; never allow negative performance issues to completely overshadow positive contributions. Don't allow the person being reviewed to become focused on the fact they are receiving negative feedback. Rather, impart the data and the resulting conclusion, and then guide them to focus on probable resolutions to their performance gaps. Have them offer a reasonable timeline and reporting mechanism for chosen resolutions. As a final close, communicate the expected performance standards for their role, acknowledge those they have performed well, and restate the areas targeted for improvement along with their performance plan, timeline and reporting mechanism.

We coach managers to take CARE when giving bad news: be Confident in their message; exhibit Authenticity and speak the truth to their audience; have all the facts in their Rationale; and always have Empathy for their audience. By taking CARE when imparting poor performance feedback, the reviewer will empower the employee to understand the feedback, and create a performance improvement plan of action. The CARE method applies, even when reviewing the reviewer.

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