HOW TO CONDUCT A BRAIN-FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE REVIEW
Performance Review: the words that can strike fear and dread for a leader, and November is the popular month for them to be scheduled (and unfortunately rescheduled!).
I don’t believe in an annual performance review as it is not brain friendly. Why wait for once a year to give your direct reports acknowledgement and positive feedback when you can be encouraging them throughout the year? Also, if your performance on a task was not meeting expectations, wouldn’t you prefer the opportunity to fix that in real time, rather than be informed months later about all the things that you did not do and therefore it was too late to change? We cannot change the past. Of course, this performance evaluation can apply at home too!
Therefore, an even more Brighter Thinking approach would be to conduct your own performance appraisal and include reflection and thinking time each week, or each month at the very least. Here are some brain-friendly questions to include:
What am I doing well?
How am I on track for my weekly / monthly / annual goals?
What would I like to do more of, or differently?
Which 3 skills or strengths am I enhancing?
What am I doing that is exceeding expectations?
What am I doing that is meeting expectations?
Where am I working towards expectations?
What actions have I committed to for the next week / month?
This final enquiry contains a presupposition as it reflects that the actions have already been determined and agreed. This is a subtle and powerful difference to asking, “what actions will I commit to?” which could elicit vague answers.
These questions can be shared with your team, (if you have one) so that they can complete a self-evaluation before a regular development one-to-one meeting. You can adapt the questions, if they focus on celebrating success and considering progress required for the future (not the past).
Finally, consider the date and time of your meeting carefully. Refrain from postponing any kind of development meeting as this will give the impression that you do not care about your direct reports and that their career and work fulfilment is not important. Your action will induce a limbic response in their brain akin to them feeling threatened. Plus, if you cancel your own meeting, what does this say about what you value?