Some novice managers recently asked me how often I give performance evaluations to my employees. I responded, “Every week.” This clearly surprised them. I believe they were expecting me to say, “annually” or “quarterly.”
Feedback is the most important tool we have for getting the superior performance we want and NEED from our employees and team members.
Every person wants and needs to know how she or he is doing. Our daily life is filled with regular, instant feedback. The stomach informs us of our eating habits. Our car’s instruments evaluate our driving habits. Our children remind us of our parenting skills. Our bank balance informs us of our ability to save.
Why should regular, instant feedback be crucial in the workplace?
When you provide weekly feedback you will be able to:
- Catch ethical problems as they occur.
- Locate misunderstandings before they fester and grow.
- Identify communication breakdowns.
- Immediately reinforce good work habits.
Continuous feedback arises from an informal process when you meet with each employee weekly and ask, “How is it going?” You create an opportunity to describe your view of how the person is performing. You can easily incorporate this into your routine by seeking out and listening to each person.
I don’t have enough time now to do my own work!
The more feedback you give your employees, the less managing you will have to do. Weekly or even daily feedback is the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy. Your employees will quickly expand in their roles and take on more responsibilities. Even better, they will begin to give each other constant feedback. You will find more time to do the tasks that are important and that support their efforts.
When you spot excellent performance:
- Describe what you saw and how you felt.
- Ask the person to describe how he or she felt about the outcome.
- Praise and honor the action taken or decision made.
If you see a problem beginning to develop:
- Describe what you saw and how you reacted and felt.
- Ask for the person’s view and reason for his action.
- Discuss how the person can improve and identify specific actions you hope to see.
The final step is to gently challenge the person to rate his or her own performance daily.
When you evaluate team members and employees more often, you will see them doing more of the “right” things. You will gain their respect as a caring and thoughtful leader, and your culture will be one of integrity and productivity.