Performance Appraisals

Leadership is like athletic achievement. Natural ability helps, but coaching is needed for peak performance. Whether you are a new supervisor or experienced manager, our free coaching tips can strengthen your leadership skills.


Most performance reviews should be a pleasant and productive experience. After all, this is probably one of the few times that you spend an extended time focusing on a person’s job and discussing it with them. The performance review should focus on four primary areas:

  • Past job performance
  • Future plans and expectations
  • Developmental goals
  • Employee needs and concerns.

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Almost everyone hates performance reviews!   Managers dislike giving them, and employees dread receiving them. Although a well-conducted appraisal discussion can actually be a pleasant and informative experience (see Conducting a Motivational Performance Review), many of them do go horribly wrong.

If you are a manager, here are six mistakes that can turn a review discussion into a disaster. If you’re an employee, we offer some suggestions for tactfully responding to these management blunders.

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Do you hate talking with employees about performance issues? Most managers do. But when you view coaching conversations as problem-solving discussions, the task often becomes much easier.

In an exceptional coaching discussion, both the manager and employee participate actively, sharing perspectives and ideas. Here are ten steps that will help you have your own exceptional coaching conversations:

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Managers become very frustrated with employee performance problems, but often don’t take time to do “detective work” on the cause. Before talking with someone about a performance issue, give some thought to possible reasons for the problem. And here’s a key point to consider: as the manager, you may inadvertently be contributing to the situation.

Every job is the responsibility of two people: the employee, who is accountable for producing desired results, and themanager, who creates the environment in which the employee works. When confronted with a performance issue, the questions below may help you sort things out.

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Everyone needs to give feedback to others from time to time. If the feedback is positive, it’s a pleasure. But sometimes constructive feedback is required to suggest a change in someone’s actions or behavior. While these discussions can easily turn into arguments or conflicts, they should really be viewed as problem-solving conversations. The following suggestions can make feedback more comfortable and productive.

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