It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Reflection, Accomplishments and Appraisals! (12/15/2014)
The holiday season is hectic. It's difficult under normal circumstances to carve out time to document accomplishments and provide feedback to your team. However, to be a truly great boss, this is an absolute requirement. I had a boss once that thwarted company policy by formatting his team's appraisals as a letter. So it would read like this: "Dear Beth, this year was a tough year but you managed to accomplish..." or "Dear Beth, I wish you would have worked harder to..." My preference was and is always a scorecard type assessment. However, his process was personal, thoughtful and honest and that is why I remember it.
To be a great boss, we need to have the courage to self assess, to examine our personal contribution to the success of the organizations for which we work and to determine how our team contributed to those efforts. Also, we must have the resolve and courage to give positive and difficult feedback as warranted. I've written in past blog bits about the importance of linking accomplishments to your organization's business plans and core values or, in other words, doing the right work. Keeping that front of mind, an approach to developing your own accomplishments while building the framework for team appraisals is to ask yourself: who helped me make this happen? Which roadblocks were removed? How effective were the tactics employed? Asking yourself open ended questions or running a simple Plus/Delta exercise as you put together your appraisal input will help you identify and define the contributions of your subordinates as you begin to evaluate them. Relationships to the larger business plan goals will also be established and, more importantly, they'll be consistent.
The key takeaways are these:
- It's critical that you understand your impact. To do that, spend time on developing your accomplishments with all the appropriate linkages to the larger goals of your organization.
- As you do this, determine the role of individual team members as well as the collective in terms of how things happened and their impact.
- Use your findings as the framework for employee appraisals, and
- be courageous. Give honest feedback and be willing to receive it.
My boss who wrote the appraisal "letters" that year drove everybody crazy. As recipients of those letters some of us were happy - others not so much. However, we all agreed that the idea was worthy. On the other hand, our HR department was livid. After all, they developed an employee appraisal system that was designed to be fair and comprehensive and to simply ignore it was unacceptable. But here's the thing: there is nothing more personal than an evalution of your work. Think back to your best appraisal - I bet you were walking on air for days. Conversely, a less than positive appraisal is something that can knock the air out of you. Look - in my mind this is the heart and soul of your work. Evaluate your contributions, understand why they matter and share credit or responsibility with those you manage. Every one of us needs to know that we are doing the right work in the right way. Use the appraisal system provided but be courageous. Inject yourself heart and soul into the process. You deserve it as does your team.
I can help you with this. I use my Triple R process (Right Work, Right Time, Right Way) to help you develop goals, establish time horizons, and evaluate performance. Contact Beth for more information.
This is the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it? Happy Holidays to you and yours! My wish for you is that you have lots of fun; enjoy friends and family and have a healthy and prosperous New Year.