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Are performance reviews dead?

In the past two weeks, I’ve noticed that the performance review is back in the news. Tara Parker-Pope in the New York Times, Samuel Culbert in the Wall Street Journal, and Bob Sutton of Stanford have all asked whether it’s time for organizations to eliminate performance reviews. Each has interesting opinions on the topic; and, I will add my own reflections here.

I have been on both the receiving and delivering end of performance reviews. Neither is easy. As an employee, I worked hard to meet organization goals and was worried that I might not be aware of all of the unspoken expectations of my superiors. As a team leader, I tried to be fair as well as given meaningful feedback and encouragement. Feedback conversations are difficult. I will use the next posts to discuss ways to give helpful feedback for performance that is excellent, below expectations, and poor.

Good leaders give feedback that is designed to influence others in the direction of a shared vision and common goals. Good feedback is purposeful and intentional. At its best, it engages people not only creating better performance, but in learning and growth. And, feedback that creates learning and growth doesn’t happen in the dreaded annual performance review, but consistently as events unfold.

<June 7, 2010>
I am updating this with links to my other posts about providing effective performance feedback:

Feedback: When things are going well
Feedback: When things are less than 100%
Feedback: When performance is poor

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