Not Cease from Exploration

Monday, February 15, 2016

Annual Performance Appraisal Advice

(from THIS site)

For those undergoing the annual ritual of the year-end performance appraisal, I offer the following completely free advice.

1) Don't fall into the trap of competition.
Ratings systems used at many organizations can create the illusion of a competition between employees for things like salary increase dollars, bonus money, even ratings themselves.  Don't fall into the trap.  Competition breeds jealousy and hard feelings.  It's a kind of rat poison to collaboration.  In the end, the only person you are truly competing against is yourself.

2) Understand that the feedback is being provided to (you), the employee.
Performance feedback at work is about you...the employee.  It's not about you...the human being.  You can be a completely wretched employee and be a truly good human being.  You can also be a model employee at work and be a serial killer at home.  Again, the feedback you receive at work is about you the employee, so don't take it as an indictment of you the person.

3)  For the most part it's horribly unscientific.
Looking for the rational basis for your performance rating?  Good luck, because it simply may not exist.  Performance appraisals are written by flawed human being, about other flawed human beings.  We human beings are filled with biases and outlooks that sway our opinions one way or another.  It's just the way it is.  Now if your performance rating is solely based on stuff like production numbers, well then good for you...I guess.  For the most part though, all of us are rated on things that go far beyond simply the facts of what we did and did not do.

4) Take the long view.
I know that it's in vogue for folks to hop from job to job these days, and I suspect that there is some value in that, but if you do remember that you will be more beholden to the impact that a one time good (or bad) performance appraisal will have on your psyche.  The better tactic, in my estimation, is to take a long view of your performance.  Yes, be focused on what you've recently done, but remember to also think about how performance appraisals can show how you've developed over time.

5) Your manger really sweats over the stuff.
Writing and providing performance feedback is hard work, and your manager likely puts a lot of effort into what you receive.  Even if you don't necessarily agree with the feedback, recognize that effort went into providing it.  Unless you have strong evidence that tells you the opposite, give your manager the benefit of the doubt.  Be gracious in the face constructive feedback.

6) Don't let them see you sweat.
Yes, be gracious in the face of constructive feedback, but do it also for the following reason:  You need to be in control of your reactions so that you can be in control over what happens next. If you are receiving constructive feedback, there is little doubt that your manager may be planning on your reacting in a ways that's, shall we say, "less than positive".  Don't do it.  Don't be so predictable.  Being gracious in the face of constructive feedback gives you some wiggle room to think about how you truly want to react.  Your immediate thoughts may not necessarily be the same as your thoughts an hour afterwards.  Writing that tirade of employee comments may make you feel good for a moment, but it will also last in your employee file for a far longer period of time afterwards.  The better reaction:  Smile and say "thank you".  You can always have a follow-up discussion the days and weeks to come (you know, at a time and place that you choose).  Anyone can be gracious in the face of congratulations, but it takes real character to be so when the opposite happens.

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