December 1, 2014

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Learning and Organizational Development Seeks Feedback on the Performance Management Process
Performance Management Tips for Managers and Employees
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Performance Management at Emory: Tips for Managers and Employees

By Randall Lucius, Ph.D.
Director, Organizational Development

This is the first installment of Performance Management Tips.  Each month we will bring you a different tip to help you manage the performance of yourself and, for managers, your team.  If you attended training, then you know that performance management is a process and not a tool or annual event. With that concept in mind, these tips will help you manage the conversations, meetings and relationships that employees and managers should be having with each other throughout the year.

Hope is Not a Strategy
Nobody said performance management is easy.  In fact, it is often very challenging, but it is without question a critically important task.  One of the most common sources of angst for anyone is providing feedback, particularly feedback for a performance problem.  What many people do, particularly those with a natural aversion to conflict, is simply refrain from saying anything.  The person will be patient, maybe provide an indirect comment, and then hope that next time the individual in question will “get it right."

As the title explains, hope is not a strategy.  If someone has a performance issue, then it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.  Research shows that feedback close in time to the event of concern is much more likely to have the desired effect of positive behavioral change.  And most people would prefer to know right away if there is a problem so that they can improve, rather than wait months for their mid-year or annual review.  The longer you wait, the less effective the feedback will be.  It is easy to forget, especially with all the things we have to do.  We often re-write events in our memory that may not match what actually occurred.  And waiting to provide important feedback sends unintended messages to others that such behavior is either unimportant, or is tolerated and acceptable. 

This advice applies to direct reports as well.  If you need something from your manager, or if your manager is doing something that negatively impacts your effectiveness, then you need to let your manager know as soon as possible.  Your manager’s job is to help you be at your best every day, and should appreciate any feedback that will help make that possible.

How should the feedback be delivered?  That will be a topic for another tip, but suffice it to say that it should be delivered respectfully, with a level head and a heartfelt desire to help rather than punish.

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