Performance Appraisal: Managing Personalities In The Room as a Reviewee

Many of us dread being reviewed during our annual performance appraisal. Our trainer Jay gives his advice on how to approach a performance appraisal from the point of view of an employee being appraised. This time we look at how to best compliment the personality of the person giving your appraisal, with body language, energy, and communication style.

Jay:A typical performance appraisal form

As described in the last blog, the first step is to think about and do a non-clinical analysis of their personalities.

Ask yourself…

  • Do they prefer to do most of the talking?
  • Do they prefer to take lots of pauses before or during speaking?
  • Do they prefer to ask (or be asked) “closed” (yes/no) versus “open” questions?
  • Are they conversational in tone or more formal and interrogative?
  • Do they like to tell and hear stories?
  • How personal do they get in discussing their own work and lives?

Once I’ve considered this, and considered what history and rapport I may already have, or what allies I’ll have on the other side of the table, I usually set about trying my best to “match their energy” in the room by

  • lots of eye contact
  • ask questions
  • tell stories
  • speak less formally or more so depending on the tone they’ve set
  • give them room to relax by being as relaxed as possible myself

I give myself permission to ask them for clarification if I need it, to be truthful and candid, and to embrace discussing mistakes as a natural part of the review.

The more relaxed and open I am, the more I can match the reviewers’ tone and energy in a collaborative way, the more ownership I’ll have of this important conversation.


For more information on how to approach a performance appraisal effectively, from both the point of view of a reviewee and reviewer, click here.

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