Are you nervous at the thought of giving employee-performance reviews? You’re not alone. Your employees aren’t exactly thrilled, either.

Typically, employees aren’t convinced they can get valid feedback. If they’ve experienced poor managers, they likely dread the performance-review process or are skeptical of the outcome.

Ironically, a quality performance review is beneficial for the company, manager and employee. Everybody wins.

Coaching matters. For leadership, you might have to fine-tune your attitude about preparing for performance reviews — your job is to be the consummate coach.

For success, here are four leadership mindsets:

1. Commit to conducting thorough research and communication. Don’t take anything for granted.

Even if you’re a veteran at giving reviews, review your organization’s appraisal process well in advance of your reviews.  

Be cognizant of all elements and timelines. Make certain your employees are completely aware, too.

A leader wants the employees to anticipate a productive discussion — not a lecture.

2. Anticipate the link to the big picture. For each employee, anticipate what your company wants to accomplish and how success is evaluated for the company’s welfare.

What is your company’s situation? Are there severe marketplace challenges? Is a culture change needed? What about HR priorities in succession planning, career development, assessing wage and benefit packages, or other priorities?

3. Thoroughly prepare for the review process. This is not a time to surprise employees. Be certain you have complete details about each employee’s talents, shortcomings and contributions.

Successes are to be acknowledged. Performance gaps should be discussed. As for goals, reviewers should be definitive.

4. Guarantee a productive discussion. In conducting performance reviews, a leader acts as a coach  and makes certain the employee is cognizant of the objectives and structures of the review. Such an attitude and approach will help insure strong results.

It should be an honest discussion — the person’s performance and goals.

Envision how you want to conduct the review. Know your salient points. Give thought to your phrasing. Remember employees tend to dwell on negative statements and don’t hear the positives.

If you must, rehearse your approach. Your goal is to put a stop to any performance gaps in elaborating on expectations and needs in growth. Inform the employee how you’ll gauge the progress. You’ll want the employee to completely understand her or his role and the value the person adds to the organization.

Encourage the person to engage you in the ensuing months. Good employees will respond by seeking feedback.

Finally, make certain you keep commitments in monitoring the employee’s progress.

From the Coach’s Corner, related content:

Human Resources: The Future of Performance Reviews — Here’s an interesting dilemma: Should performance reviews be fired? The premise is thought-provoking. Here’s an analysis.

Small Business – Easy Ways to Boost Your Employees’ Morale — Employee morale affects performance. Study after study shows a significant percentage of worker morale is mediocre, at best. That’s often the case even for companies that are able to pay competitive wages and benefits. 

Human Resources – Power Your Brand with Employee Empowerment — Are you investing in marketing, but not getting the anticipated return on your investment? If you’re disappointed by your ROI, remember marketing may or may not be the problem. 

Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations — Now that it appears the recession has ended, questions may arise about human resources. What to do now? Here are the answers. 

Tips for Marketing Your HR-Policy Changes to Employees — So you’ve identified workplace policies that need to be updated. But you want your policies to be accepted and followed by your employees. Employees are often uncomfortable with change even if it’s necessary for a business turnaround. Remember high morale among employees propels profits. 

“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

-Mae West


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.