Yesterday we looked at some of the reasons why performance reviews can be so painful and why folks tend to avoid them. There is a movement to get rid of them altogether and I suspect that the things we explored yesterday are a bit part of that.
Is There A Better Way?
It just so happens that I have been reading one of Patrick Lencioni's earlier books on Employee Engagement and I was struck by a couple of the lessons. The reason they stood out for me was that as fate would have it I read them right after doing the research for yesterday's blog. As well they align quite nicely with the principles I teach leaders in my work.
Recognition, Relevance & Measurement
I won't go into a lot of detail but he spoke to three key features of engagement that involve among other things, the use of measurement or metrics (so you can gage improvement), the need for relevance or purpose and the desire for recognition or "to be known." He points out quite correctly that even the most amazing jobs will be miserable if the person in that role does not have these three things.
As A Leader; Do You Have These Things?
So what does this have to do with performance reviews? Simply this; we make performance reviews onerous because we do not have these things in mind when we manage our employees. Changing that starts with a shift in your perspective. If you move your thinking from "I have to provide a critique of this person's performance" to "I get to validate this person's contribution to the team and I get to help them achieve their goals." Isn't that really about giving you a different purpose for this process? Doesn't that change how you can be relevant in that person's life?
You Can Do It!
Add to that the privilege of showing them how they have purpose in their work. Showing how they can measure their impact and how they matter (are known and contribute) as part of your team; does that change the dynamic for performance reviews? Who do they serve? How do they know they are doing this well? How do they matter, to you and to the team? These are the benchmarks that should form the basis of doing performance reviews.
Everyone Has Relevance
I wrote a while back on a manager who changed her perspective on what she wanted from her team of executive assistants. How the team developed measures around their purpose one of which was to equip and prepare their bosses for each and every meeting. How daily personal interactions or "touchpoints" allowed for meaningful input to her regarding the success or challenges of those measures. And how this also gave her opportunities to get to know her team, recognize their good work and help them with their ambitions and goals.
If measures, feedback and recognition are happening on a daily basis how hard do you think a performance review is going to be? Change your perspective, understand how you are relevant, how you have purpose with regard to growing your staff and watch how that changes the whole culture on your team. Performance Leadership - Think About It!