Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Performance Management - For An Appraisee

In any performance review discussion with my sub-ordinates, I ask these two questions     
   1. What do you think how you are doing? The answer is definite and mostly it is good/excellent.
   2. What do you think, what your manager thinks of how you are doing? In most cases I get a blank look.

It is of then no surprise that many of us feel disappointed after the review. We discover(or rather construct) a set of reasons (inept manager, politics, favoritism, unable to show-off etc.)  for our dismal ranking. While I don't deny the existence of any or all of these reasons, their contribution for a dismal ranking is arguable.

During our transition from education to professional life, we often don't realize two important changes
    #1. In student life, you study more, you score better..simple! In professional life, in addition to what you have done, it is also important how your performance is perceived by your superiors, peers, organization.
    #2. In professional life, how good/bad you are is less important. More important is where you stand against your peers. Therefore your self judgement should always take into consideration these wider aspects as well.

Someone once told me, that the best performance appraisal is the one where there is mutual agreement both ways & the discussion is short & crisp. The reason being, if both the appraisee & appraiser were always in sync, frequently discussed the positives, the improvement needs, the discussion becomes just a mere formality. There is hardly any surprise. And that's exactly it should be. Performance review is not a 30-60 minutes discussion, it is a continuous process throughout the year & therefore requires thoughtful planning, execution & follow-up.

At the beginning of the year, we should plan how much effort we are ready to put in that year & what we want to achieve. Depending on personal life, health or because of any alternate priorities(planning for higher studies, preparing for a job in a better organization) we might not want to stretch every year. That is perfectly fine, only it should be communicated & mutually agreed to your supervisor & you should also be ready to accept a proper rating according to your contribution. The comes the follow-up, which most of us miss. Nothing stops us to touch base with your supervisor once in 2/3 months, or just casually asking how you are doing. This gives you chance to introspect & improve (if required) in stead of hearing the same feedback at the year end, when you can't do anything. And then the continuous evolution, act on the feedback.

I should also admit that in spite of you doing everything right, you could still get a bad rating. There could be reasons beyond your control & that I am intentionally keeping outside the scope here. But if a systematic approach is followed, there are more probability of being rightly recognized.

Please note that, due to self imposed limit on the article length, I am only discussing an appraiser's point of view. The appraiser's aspect will be discussed in the next post.

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