Developing your Skills | February 6, 2013
Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF Mentor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Effective performance assessments of subordinates are one of the most important activities that a manager performs in his/her support of their subordinates’ personal development and career path. Yet, it is, in many cases, treated on an ad hoc and less than diligent manner by many managers.
A good manager understands the critical importance of proper assessments; spends the time preparing for them; conducts them on a proper frequency in a professional manner; and effectively involves the subordinate in the process. If the manager does not take this activity seriously, as demonstrated by his/her behaviour, then the subordinate won’t either, and a great opportunity for assisting the subordinate to becoming more self-sufficient in the job (and thereby making life infinitely easier for the manager), is wasted.
Each position (no matter how menial) should be treated as a profession. If the manager takes that attitude so will the subordinate.
So what are the key components of proper preparation for an effective performance assessment?
1. Each position should have a vision for that job that includes:
a. Who the internal and external clients being serviced by that position are;
b. The key objectives and standards of performance in providing those services.
2. A comprehensive job description that, in simple and concise terms, describes the functions and services being performed (and where appropriate key performance metrics), and approximate percentage of total time that should be spent on each function.
The manager should be very familiar with items 1 and 2 above at all times for each of his/her direct subordinates.
3. An action plan as to how the subordinate will improve their self-sufficiency in the priority areas (see prior article for details as to how to do this), and some means to measure progress. A couple of further notes regarding devising an effective action plan:
a. Try to keep the development goals simple and achievable. In most cases do not try to deal with more than three areas in a year;
b. Do not focus solely on weaknesses. Look at the strengths of the person first and determine if greater good can be obtained from expanding on these than from addressing weaknesses. In many cases this will be true.
4. A history of one-to-one meetings (on at least a monthly basis), that have reviewed progress made under item 3 above and other key performance metrics under item 2 above.
5. An assessment of the subordinate’s:
a. Self-motivation and initiative;
b. Culture fit with the team;
c. Emotional intelligence.
These items should have been assessed prior to hiring the person however, things change; you get to know new subordinates after they have worked for you for a period of time. These three areas will always remain critical to the effectiveness of the manager’s team and should be included in each performance assessment.
6. The subordinate’s feedback on all or a portion of the above as appropriate.
The next article will discuss the frequency of performance assessments and how to conduct an effective assessment.
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