HOW GREAT MANAGERS GIVE PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK.
Giving performance feedback is what great managers do very well. This performance appraisal shuns the once-a-year performance appraisal with a remedial focus and the arbitrary employee of the month appraisal model. It emphasizes a situation where meetings are held periodically, like every quarter, to assess employee plans and goals and what measurements will be used to assess their performance and progress. The focus of the appraisal is to get the employees to do more of what they enjoy doing.
For some managers, the performance appraisal takes the form of them scheduling some time to observe their employees as they play certain roles in order to note their style and effectiveness. Their next step is to recreate what they observed and to talk together with their people about their individual plans, goals and the best way forward. Great managers give themselves up to keep their employees aware of their individual styles at various roles and to remind them of what is possible or achievable in view of a particular style. The performance feedback is a mirror that allows employees to discover a little more about who they are, how they work and the impact they leave on the organisation and the world. Effective managers allow the individual needs of their employees to determine the frequency of their feedback. Even if it is for twenty-five minutes every month or for an hour every quarter, these performance feedback meetings are a constant aspect of their interaction with their employees. Studies indicate that these effective managers spend about four hours per employee per year in discussing employee style and performance.
The performance feedback meeting often starts off with a brief review of past performance with a view to helping the employee to think in detail about her style and to spark off a discussion about the talents and non-talents behind the style. Secondly, the focus is then shifted to the future and how the employee could use her style to be more productive. The manager’s interactions with their employees are deeply savoured with the idea of partnership. They get down to complement the non-talents or weaknesses of their employees. In a situation where an employee is incredibly driven but lacking in strategic initiative, the manager could step in and play out alternative scenarios leaning to different obstacles and put together a contingency plan for overcoming the obstacles in their eventuality.
This performance feedback is best given in private, one on one, to fulfil its purpose of helping each employee to build upon his or her natural strengths and to strengthen the manager’s personal connection with them. Getting to know the personal details of your employees shows them that you care.
Great managers hold themselves and their employees to high-performance standards of excellence and regard any level of performance that is average without prospects of improvement as unacceptable. They gently guide a miscast employee to learn about his or her unique combination of talents and move to roles that resonate with the natural talents. They deliberately set their people up for success to show that they truly care.