Appraisal angst


For many, it’s performance review time of year again. A time when managers sigh, their stomachs churn, headaches set in and brains whirr to think of any viable excuses to get them out of all that extra paperwork, time spent in meetings and embarrassment when difficult issues need to be addressed and recorded.

On the flip side, an equal measure of angst permeates the employee population. There are those who go quiet at the thought of their review, those who brag of the great grades and adulation they will receive, those whose brains whirr to think of any viable excuses to get them out of filling the forms in, spending time meeting their manager and how to wriggle out of a discussion if any difficult issues are raised!

But tough! Appraisals and reviews happen everywhere. Its just one of many employment processes and usually they do serve a good purpose. So if you don’t like it, tough!

A few of my thoughts though for both managers and employees as you prepare for the big day…

Managers – don’t gloss over what’s not working so well just because you fear confrontation. For if you do, it will in due course, come back to bite you in the bottom.

Employees – don’t expect your manager to show empathy for your traumatic personal circumstances if you duck and dive and generally refuse to talk to your manager about what is actually going on. Managers are not trained as MI6 interrogators, so give them a bit of slack and open up when they ask the questions.

Managers – don’t fall into the trap of assuming that just because the difficult conversation has been done and discussed that you then don’t need to record it on paper. In today’s world often the paper trail is everything.

Employees – don’t wait for the review to ‘be done to you’. It does require a little preparation and planning if you are also to get out of it what you want.

Managers – don’t avoid setting objectives for things that might be hard to measure. Attitude, team working, emotional awareness, communication skills are all things that absolutely need to be set as objectives from time to time. So don’t take the easy route by just sticking to the tangibles.

Employees – treat your manager as you would expect to be treated yourself, i.e. think about how you are going to phrase things, be considerate of how your manager might feel to your comments, show empathy in respect of your manager’s priorities and needs.

And finally, a few useful phrases for those managers stuck with the paperwork:

  • “Works well under pressure and cornered like a rat in a trap”
  • “Would be out of her depth in a puddle”
  • “Sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them”
  • “When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell”
  • “She doesn’t have ulcers, but she’s a carrier”
  • “Gates are down, lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming”

Best of luck!

For performance review training, confidence building for managers when dealing with sensitive issues or a general review of your performance review process and paperwork, please do give the Jaluch team a call.

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