How to share valuable performance feedback without risks

By Tim Savage

How to share valuable performance feedback without risking that people take offence with the truth , the reality and the facts

Performance management discussions always seem to start with users justifying their lack of commitment to the process with the normal

excuses such as  “I don’t like the forms that we have to use “ or “ I can’t afford the time to spend 2 hours in a discussion about employee performance “

Once the purpose of the performance management process is clarified to them – there seems to be a better grasp of how important an investment it is . My favourite description of purpose is :

 “A 2 way discussion where both parties jointly review past performance and plan for future success ”

The appraisee should leave the discussion motivated by having a clear understanding

of how their performance is viewed , what they do well that should continue and any strengths which are over or under utilized . A meaningful development plan will address any gaps identified.

I have found that the reality, underlying inconsistent performance management processes, is that the majority of people fear having to give their subordinates, colleagues and boss feedback  and therefore avoid it .

Successful leaders always provide continuous and balanced feedback – recognizing the good and coaching where improvement is needed.

The key is creating trustworthy relationships which create a positive environment all year round not just for one 2 hour discussion in a year. Insightful self aware leaders have an appetite for reciprocal feedback so they can continue to develop and improve themselves.

Successful leaders also understand the benefit of timely feedback – not only to illustrate behaviours, actions and events with objective facts  – but also to help shape employee talent early in their career to maximize the potential for success.

If you are a leader that :

  • Continuously scans your environment and your own behaviour and impact
  • Clarifies expectations both in terms of objectives and behaviour at the beginning of the relationship
  • Constructs a positive environment for success
  • Looks for and recognizes good performance in a timely and meaningful manner
  • Highlights at an appropriate time any gaps in performance and coaches improvement supported by objective facts and feelings

You and your colleagues will benefit and there will be no offence taken and no nasty surprises – just motivated people who know where they stand and consistent performance achievement .

Tim Savage has spent more than 30 years working in the people business ; uses humour and a multi-cultural communication capability to create an environment for self reflection and openness to change . He has been working globally and in and around the Middle East since 1988. You can follow him on @TimSavageLondon and on LinkedIn

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