I make sure to enter the conversation having done my homework on myself, on the employee, and on the recent narrative of that employee’s work highs and lows, especially within the context of the firm’s work as a whole.
I have to sit and think about what sort of leader I am, how I like to manage, my vision, and do an honest personal inventory on my own personality, thinking and communication process. Then I have to consider all these things for my reviewee, especially understanding how he or she communicates and if there are any unique or challenging ways they express themselves.
Particularly, I should consider how tone, point-of-view and placement inform what they need to hear, and how.
- Tone: how do they like to receive feedback?
- Point-of-view: how do I think they will see it impacting their business outlook at the firm?
- Placement: how does his or her rank, seniority, background, strategic placement, etc. within the company suggest how personally he or she takes feedback or how seriously they receive it so as to usefully apply it?
Finally, I need to provision myself with carefully chosen, specific stories of when the employee has (or has not) embodied whatever skills or behaviours we are focusing on in the review. It must be practical, and I aim to leave my ego at the door, so as to come across as collaboratively as possible.
For more information on how to approach a performance appraisal effectively, from both the point of view of a reviewee and reviewer, click here.