We’re nearing performance review season. It’s a season most people dread. If we feel we’re doing well, we’re gearing up for having to justify why we want an even bigger raise. If we’ve had an off year, or we’ve done well but our firm, company or division has been off this year, we’re prepping for bad news. If we know we missed a few performance benchmarks, we’re preparing ourselves to walk in with head held high, ready to commit to doing a better job next year.
If we’re delivering the performance review, there’s almost as much anxiety. We tend to be friends with our co-workers, even those we technically manage. As a rule, we don’t give feedback to our friends. You don’t come back from lunch with a colleague and say, “Hey Larry, great suggestion on the Chinese place for lunch. By the way, you slurp your soup really loudly.”
How can we prepare for, and participate in, a performance review meeting? In this article, I’ll share some basic pointers on giving feedback. In my next article, I’ll cover how to prepare to receive feedback, and how to handle the news, whether it’s good, bad or a bit of both.
Here are some basic tips for when you are giving a performance review.
1. Change the focus of the meeting. “Performance reviews,” by definition, look backward. They are an assessment of the prior year’s accomplishments. Think instead of calling them “performance review and goal-setting meetings.” Assuming someone is not getting fired, the purpose of reviewing the past year’s work is to figure out how to improve for next year. The more the focus is on what’s to come, the more positive the conversation will be, and the more invested the person receiving the feedback will feel in the conversation....
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