How My Employee Reviews Backfired This Year

How My Employee Reviews Backfired This Year

Every October and November, I present annual performance reviews to my staff. There’s a very good system in place that I’ll rehearse with you again:

  • I ask all employees to review themselves using the same tool I do so I can see if my impressions of them is aligned or misaligned with how they evaluate themselves.
  • I use the same tool every year and it’s one where I give them a 1-5 ranking in 4 or 5 key competencies as well as some commentary on why they scored the way they did and areas for improvement on any competency scored below a 5.
  • At the beginning of our time together, I always ask how things are going for them – both personally and professionally and we take some time to anecdotally review the last 12 months.
  • I always end the review with some goals for the upcoming year that we both agree to and that have specific deadlines.

So, this year, I proceeded with the same plan and structure as always.  I began meeting with employee after employee and delivering their results.  I have to say, that I am really blessed to work with some hard-working, awesome people.  So, this process is not a difficult one and often unfolds with little drama.

But not this year.  Something different happened.

In review after review (not necessarily all of them), as we were spending time together, many of the employees began telling me how much they appreciated me and enjoyed working with me.  In essence, they began reviewing me!  To say that I was caught off guard would be an understatement.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to take it.  If I’m being completely transparent, it made me a little emotional.  And, if I’m being even more transparent, my mind immediately flashbacked to a time when I received a 360 degree evaluation from my team that said I wasn’t a good leader and I was liked by my team.  It was really surreal.

As a leader, you don’t always hear that you’re doing a good job.  As a leader, you’re not always confident that you’re making a difference.  As a leader, you’re not always sure that your team is following you because they have to or because they want to.

I want to encourage all of you that what you’re doing matters!  If you’re focused on others and you’re leading with a servant’s heart, you’re doing a good job.  If you’re leading from a place of a Higher Purpose, you’re making a difference.  If you’re team is following you, expect the best – and assume they’re following you because they want to…not because they have to!  Keep up the great work!

My hope for you is that you get even one of the moments that I’ve gotten to experience in this way lately.  I pray that someone will encourage you just when you need it and that their words will lift you up and confirm that you’re doing something that matters.

And, if you serve on a team and are being led by a leader that exemplifies good leadership – or at least gets it right sometimes – will you tell him/her?  Write them a note, mention it in your next one-on-one meeting, or just bring it up when you’re together next.

Have you ever been encouraged by someone like this?  Head over to my Facebook page and let’s discuss it there…

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