top of page

Who's Got Your Back?

Bring up the subject of performance reviews and you'll see visceral reactions in people. The fear of not measuring up, of an unfair evaluation, or fallout from the disappointing results of that project they led last year.

Why is it that periodic reviews create dread so consistently?

All of us want other people to pay attention to the quality and integrity of our work. We want to know that the work we do really matters. We long to konw that someone has our back.

A well-executed regular review is one of the simplest and strongest ways to create an environment where people thrive. Where people know that someone is paying attention. Unfortunately, the broad experience of performance reviews feels like a club held over their heads.

One of the easiest ways to honor the work people do is to regularly review the qualitative and quantitative impact of their work. A healthy review process should be developmental and for that to happen, it needs to be more than once a year. If no one pays close enough attention to the work you do to review it with you, it’s easy to think that your organization doesn’t value your work.

This is post #5 of six on “How to create an empowering environment.” So, pause for a second to think about the environment you are creating for people in your organization.

  • What if a personal review could be a regular two-way dialogue?

  • What if your reviews were a chance to support and problem solve with your people?

  • What if you used a developmental review as a platform where those you oversee could speak back into the organization with fresh learning and insight?

  • What if your goal was to accelerate individual and organizational growth?

This kind of posture for a regular review is a far cry from both the perfunctory and the hard-nosed institutionally focused review. If the mission of your organization matters, then the development of your people and building an environment that helps them grow their contribution should matter, too.

Without Effective Regular Review:

  1. People can feel undervalued. That no one cares about what they do.

  2. Innovation wanes because people feel exposed rather than supported.

  3. Problems become forest fires before anyone notices.  And, forest fires take a huge toll in terms of damage and manpower they consume.

  4. People lose perspective. The “dots between my work and our mission/vision become disconnected.

  5. Training opportunities are become institutional mandates rather than growth opportunities connected to real needs.

What have you learned about turning the personnel review process into a empowering conversation?

What ideas do you have that others might benefit from?


bottom of page