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Avoiding Errors in Performance Reviews

January 4, 1999
Related Topics: Performance Appraisals, Featured Article
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If you think back to what you've most disliked about some of the performance appraisals you've been subjected to yourself, you can help make sure to avoid the errors of those who have gone before you. Some common mistakes that supervisors make when giving performance reviews are:

A patronizing attitude.
Supervisors who come across as if they know exactly what is best for the employee in terms of career growth and development without asking the employee's personal goals will generally be tuned out. In fact, the employee is apt to feel resentful and take the opposite of any advice given.

Stressing the negative.
Some supervisors believe that it is their responsibility to point out everything the employee is doing wrong. The performance review is the appropriate time to discuss real problems, but it is also imperative that you talk about what the employee is doing right. And think about your complaints before you speak. Are they really significant? Remember that anything negative you say during a performance appraisal will have a lasting effect. Make sure it's worth it.

Lack of information.
Supervisors who don't know what their employees are working on or what problems they are having are actually caught off guard at performance appraisals.

SOURCE: Written with permission from Productive Performance Appraisals, Randi Toler Sachs, Amacon, 1992.

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