Edward E Lawler III in a recent article (11 October, 2001; National Post; Page FP7; titled: ‘Learn to manage minus performance appraisals”) discusses the frequent problems that doing performance appraisals incur.
He notes that we do this “form” (sic) of performance management because of the lack of motivation, competence and effectiveness in managers in “performing” this function more effectively.
He notes that ongoing, timely feedback and coaching is far more effective and meaningful to recipients than any annual formal process.
He proposes an interesting take on this subject: “it is to use performance appraisals as a way to improve the skills of managers so that performance appraisals eventually become unnecessary.”
So becoming skilled in ongoing forms of performance management provides the manager relief rom doing the formalized and bureaucratic forms of performance appraisals.
This is of course a classical form of negative reinforcement (improving performance by making one of the performance alternatives less appealing).
I would suggest an addition to this: make my own performance my priority.
As an employee, I often have considerable incentive to ensure I am on track and succeeding. So wouldn’t it be in my interest to seek out and receive useful performance feedback, coaching and goal setting input? (In fact I would argue that if I did not display this interest, the organization is well advised to see me leave).
This means that when I complete an assignment, I do the work associated with assessing how well I did and I then review this with my manager.
This provides practical and observable evidence for showing initiative and self awareness. These are often desirable competencies in many organizations. We often hear that these are tougher traits to develop, so we should recruit for them. I believe I have offered up an elegant means for embedding an ongoing self improvement practice that delivers on the outcomes of performance AND supports learning.
Have any of you adapted such a practice? What have your experiences been with doing so?