Ask employees to complete a performance evaluation and they may groan or roll their eyes. Many performance appraisals are completed simply to tick another box on a manager’s “to do” list. However, both attitude and productivity should improve if you introduce a meaningful, year-round culture of coaching.
Jolene Brown “It’s so much easier to do the ‘production side’ – the weeds, seed, breeds, feeds, money, cash flow and marketing, than it is to lead and manage people,” says Jolene Brown, a professional speaker and family business consultant from West Branch, Iowa. “But it’s the people who do all that production. We are in the people business.”
She points out that it is a leader’s job to make sure they:
- Define the job responsibilities with standards to know the job is done well
- Assure the person doing the work has the necessary skills, personality, education and experience
- Listen for new and better ideas
- Coach, correct, praise and celebrate for continued employment
- Document reasons for ending employment according to a pre-determined processes
“Having a specific assessment meeting allows the employee to learn the areas of his or her success, as well as areas of improvement,” she adds. “It’s also a time for listening and showing you value the employee and their ideas.”
And what if a manager feels their employees “should” know what to do and how to do it by now? Brown says “should” is a word of assumption, mind reading, frustration and even resentment.
click image to zoom “With all employees, a leader’s job is to make sure the job is done to the standard explained, not assumed,” she says. “Without a clear definition of the job and its responsibilities, a leader has no right to complain. Remember, people perform to the lowest standard the leader and/or the business team tolerates.”
While it may seem that the process of conducting performance appraisals and employee coaching takes time out of an already busy day, Brown says this is time well spent and is critical to the success of the operation.
“Leaders understand that working on the business makes for better working in the business,” she says. “Focusing on this critical task at a scheduled, structured time will free up many hours of frustrating crisis management time. When done well, it also helps to build teamwork, honors employee contributions, corrects behaviors at a minor (not crisis) level, appreciates good value, and encourages continued, strong performance for both the leader and the employees.”