What is your goal when you conduct a performance review? Do your people leave inspired or do they leave feeling beat down?
If you are like a lot of leaders you may not look forward to this process. If you rely on an annual performance review, the process is often taxing and rarely inspiring.
That doesn’t have to be the case. If you build a more frequent cadence around performance discussions (bi-weekly, for example), it will make the performance review process easier, more impactful, and even inspiring.
People engage best when they are clear on expectations and have the autonomy to use their unique gifts to deliver results.
The art of leadership is to create clarity about expectations, and transfer ownership for the plan and accountability for the results to your team member(s). Asking the right questions will help you determine if the person is clear on expectations and where they need additional coaching and development.
Rather than waiting until a year has passed to conduct a performance review, start asking these four questions in your regular one-on-one meetings.
- What have you done well? The world is full of cynicism and negative people. What is wrong is readily available. It does not take any leadership to see what is wrong. However, what is right is also available. The difference is that it often takes leadership to see what is right. This question starts the discussion with what is right and creates positive momentum.
- Where do you need to improve? Your team will perform at higher levels when you create a culture of constant and never-ending improvement. Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, warns “success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Leaders keep the focus on learning, positive progress and higher standards.
- What will you do differently moving forward? Cast your goals in concrete and your plans in sand. The most successful individuals and teams remain flexible. The pace of change today is greater than at any time in our history. Plans become outdated about the time the ink dries. Keep your people accountable to their commitment while allowing for flexibility in their approach.
- How can I help? Effective leaders coach and develop. They are able to inspire others to set bold goals and high standards for their personal and professional conduct. This sets up the leader to serve as a coach and mentor. Rather than standing over, giving commands, and pointing out blind spots, a leader comes alongside, equips, and inspires.
A leaders most important task is to bring out the best in people. It is important to discuss performance and for your people to be crystal clear on how they are performing against your expectations. A bi-weekly performance cadence during your one-on-ones will make the process easier, more impactful and even inspiring.