Overcome your fear of giving feedback

[Includes FREE download from our series of Simple Systems ‘How to deliver an inspiring performance review.’]

Performance management is one of the four foundations of the McFreedom System™. Performance reviews are all about improving the performance of the team, by improving the performance of each individual in it.

No one should ever feel anxious going into a performance review, because nothing should ever be a surprise.  If a manager is managing effectively, ongoing, day to day appreciative and constructive feedback, will have made it clear to the individual exactly where they stand.

So a review will be a formal summary of this ongoing informal feedback, either recognising excellence or identifying areas for improvement and agreeing the way forward.

Performance reviews are all about enabling progress – inspiring and motivating your team to strive for continuous improvement. So where does the fear come from?

Maybe it’s from seeing performance reviews as confrontational – I’m going to tell the individual everything they’ve done wrong, and they are going to be defensive and argue back.

Or maybe it’s because we’ve avoided giving ongoing feedback; we haven’t corrected a behaviour that’s now going to come across as a much bigger deal than it needed to be, because our feedback will be a surprise to them.

Maybe it’s because we haven’t actually been monitoring or measuring the individual’s performance, and our feedback will be very flaky and subjective, as a result.

Or maybe it’s because we’ve had no training in performance management, and know that we’ll be ‘winging’ it.

Want to remove the fear? Here’s our top 5 tips for stress-free reviews:

  1. Get into the habit of giving regular ongoing feedback.  Praise someone who’s done a good job; give constructive feedback to someone who hasn’t met your standards of behaviour or in the performance of a task.  Do it at the time, and the formal review becomes no big deal for either party.
  2. Give the feedback real time, but also keep notes that will remind you of the great stuff and the not so great when it comes to review time. Encourage your team to do the same. You can then both prepare well for the review.
  3. Listen to what your team members have to say.  Performance reviews are a two-way communication opportunity, and the most inspiring thing you can do, is listen.
    Give individuals the chance to tell you what they’ve done well and where they need to improve. People are often so much harder on themselves than we might ever be. Giving them a chance to come up with things themselves, makes the dialogue about improvement and support.
  4. Don’t duck issues. If someone’s performance isn’t up to scratch they should already know; no surprises. Use the review to get them to think about the consequence of their behaviours by asking specific questions like, ‘When you said that to customer X how do you think that made him feel?…. What do you think he would do as a result?’ You want them to understand the impact of their below-standard performance on the success of the business, and also on them as an individual.
  5. Don’t let a rotten apple affect the whole fruit bowl.  If someone does not share your values, or is not able to match the standards you have set for the team…part company with them, without delay. Less stress for you, and better for them too.

If you’re an ‘accidental manager’, have had bad experiences, or just want to improve then

Do one thing: Grab your FREE downloadHow to deliver an inspiring performance review’.

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