Who Does Your Performance Appraisal?
If you do routine performance reviews in your practice, congratulations. Giving feedback to your employees lets them know how well they are meeting your expectations, particularly as applied to their duties and responsibilities. The only way for your staff to get better at what they do is for you to give them honest, timely performance evaluations.
So who does your performance review?
You may have made a habit of critiquing your own performance – perhaps you take a few minutes at the end of day to reflect on a particular situation, what you intended, what happened and how you might do things better next time. That’s great. What you think of your own performance is important; however, your own view is both limited and biased.
Success at work and in life depends on what other people think of you more than what you think of yourself. Unfortunately most of us live in a world of ‘no-news-is-good-news’. We operate under the assumption that if no one complains we must be doing everything right. WRONG!
There are several reasons why people don’t give you honest feedback:
As marketing professionals know, formal focus groups are necessary to find out what people really think. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter what people have to say when they are in a logical, analytical mode. What really matters is how they feel about you. Scary stuff, but absolutely essential to know this if you’re going to become more effective, in business and in life.
Should you seek out feedback from your employees? Absolutely. Asking your staff for their observations will engender loyalty, and will likely make you a better boss. But since people will very rarely tell you the truth about yourself, you need to figure out a way to get honest feedback on how you’re doing. That’s the one thing that limits leaders from achieving their full potential. They want to hear the good things about their behavior and performance, but not the bad.
Few of us enjoy hearing about our shortcomings, and few of our employees will lavish the thought of critiquing their boss. So how do you solicit good feedback?
Marshall Goldsmith, a leadership coach to top executives in many of the world’s leading companies, has a process that he calls feed forward. He believes that there is a fundamental problem with all types of feedback: it focuses on a past, on what has already occurred—not on the infinite variety of opportunities that can happen in the future. As such, feedback can be limited and static, as opposed to expansive and dynamic.
Over the past several years, he has developed a new way for his clients to solicit information about how they can improve. Although it is deceptively simple at first blush, it is an amazingly powerful and safe way to get information for the future.
As an introduction, it is important to tell your employees that you are working on becoming a better leader. Otherwise your search for feedforward will be confusing. Then say: “Give me two things I can do to be a better boss.”
Listen to their suggestions, even write them down. Learn as much as you can. Refrain from any commentary or rebuttals. Simply say, ‘Thank you’.
Use the feedforward statement with the other people you value most in your life. Modify the wording to reflect your relationship with them. For example, “give me two things I can do to be a better husband – wife – father – mother – friend - etc.”
Pay attention to the themes in your feedforward. Identify one behavior that you would like to change that would make a significant positive difference in your practice. In my next article, I’ll tell you how to follow-up on this so you can be the best boss you can be. Becoming a great leader is worth the effort…and it will show up in your bottom line! The most successful leaders are aware of the impact they have on others. You only need to ask.
Interested in becoming a better leader? Contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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