Job Appraisals and How to Get the Most Out of Your Employees

Jax Hudur

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You are called into a meeting. This meeting has been in the works for a while now. You have an idea of what the appointment entails. It’s about you; you’ll be put to the grinder. Your work will be evaluated, and your boss has a list jotted down in his notebook of the “few” things you can improve on. But there is a problem. You go into the meeting, and instead of a conversation, a monologue of everything you did wrong is spat at you. You sit there silently, listening to his yapping while cursing him with every negative noun and adjective under the sun.

On the other hand, the boss is on the defensive, and to compensate; he puts on his armor of angry face. Why be angry?

I have seen my fair share of this, and if you are in the corporate world, the chances are that you, too, have seen this countless times. The boss would dish out his “advice “and occasionally be frustrated when it does not register. He considers this because everything he pointed out is ignored or is not reflecting on the work. Where did things go wrong, was he misunderstood?

The simple answer is no. He was understood correctly. However, he utterly failed to win the person’s trust. So what could have been a constructive conversation results in a tirade that neither offers solutions nor explains what needs improvement?

Consider the following points the next time you are giving feedback.

  1. Understand that you are talking to a human being

Ask yourself what the objective is? Do you want to have a go at the person, or do you want them to improve their performance? Of course, it is the latter. Address the issue at hand, not the person. This way, you are collaborating with your staff in searching for a solution. This approach will not alienate your colleague whose potential you want to improve while adding value and insight. It is a win-win.

Mistakes should be examined, learned from, and discarded; not dwelled upon and stored.
— Tim Fargo

2. Create a positive environment for the meeting

I once went into a meeting that lasted 15 minutes but felt like three hours. You are giving a critique. It is natural to expect uneasiness and defensiveness. Imagine someone tells you to stand still and start punching you in the gut. That is what some job appraisals can resemble. Start with compliments on the previous job that the person has done, share your thoughts and findings with them in a constructive manner. This approach is helpful on two fronts. First, you appreciate their work, and secondly, you are letting them know you are not gunning them down, eliminating the tension, and you end up having a genuine and fruitful exchange. This strategy adds more value to your relationships at work and worth for the company. Not the monologue rants and tirades.

3. Narrow down on your critique

Be objective in your feedback. Make points on what needs attention. There are times when picking on little details is detrimental to both the person’s morale and effectiveness. First, you waste a lot of time on the particular, and secondly, you waste time on futility since this approach would not give them the necessary overall guidance. Maybe you have seen a colleague that struggles to come to work on time. By on time, I mean they are five minutes late. The same employee might have a passion for the job so much, so they come into the office during the weekends to finish work or show initiative and take more work. The same colleague might be staying an hour late every day to complete extra tasks. Do not focus on the five minutes; instead, try to understand why they are late five minutes. In most cases, productive employees are bogged down by factors entirely out of their hands. Now, imagine a manager giving that employee grief over the five minutes and overlooking the overall zeal invested in the job and passion?

4. Encourage routine feedback

Frequent feedback equips your colleagues to learn your style and understand your expectations.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
— Ken Blanchard

Fair feedback creates trust, making it highly likely for an employee to have confidence in your guidance and recommendations. Your objective is to lead them to overcome weaknesses or discourage unwarranted behavior in the workplace.

5. Boost self-esteem

By now, you have had a heart to heart with your colleague. You offered your recommendations, and they seem happy and satisfied. Do not leave it there. Show that you appreciate their hard work and level up their confidence. It varies how different bosses go about this, but an e-mail or a thank you note will do the job well.

Takeaways

Feedback, when correctly utilized, can yield good performance results but will otherwise create a hostile environment. No one will take it kindly to be critiqued, especially when there is no trust or decorum. Many bosses have alienated good employees that were an asset to the company for mere carelessness. Remember that you, as someone in a position of authority, your words carry weight.

Do not fear calling out on unacceptable or low performance. Do so sensibly without disrespecting or making it personal.

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I write about history, politics and true crime. Not to mention anything else that takes my fancy or newsworthy. "No special talents. Only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

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