Why Managers Hate Doing Performance Appraisals

Managing Up 3rd November 2016 Swapnil Kamat

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It is natural to feel a little dizzy when you hear the words performance appraisals. After all, your hard work will be reviewed in relation to how you performed or didn’t the last couple of months, isn’t it? However, it’s not just employees who fear review meetings. Managers too get cold feet if they overlook the importance of such reviews.

Here’s what sends a chill down a manager’s spine, nights before the feedback meet.

You did not invest time to set deliverables

This is problematic. When you do not lay down the deliverables in detail, then what are you going to appraise the employee on. One of the most important things to do is getting done with this right at the beginning of the review period. Sit down with your team members and assign them their key result areas (KRAs) in separate meetings. Pay attention to their strengths and weaknesses and push them to do their best. The next time you’re going to review them you will never be a bundle of nerves because you have in front of you a document that clearly tells you what is it that you’re going to review them on.

Related: Understanding the Need for Employee Motivation

You are unapproachable as a manager

For an employee it is critical to get their manager’s feedback. It helps keep employees on track or at least makes them aware of how they’re doing. Your words of motivation go a long way in determining their performance. However, if you are unapproachable either because you’re always in and out of meeting or travelling a lot, they naturally fear performance appraisals because of the absolute lack of interaction. Since there’s no professional rapport then it’s but natural for them as well as you to be a little worked up.

Related: 5 Leadership lessons from Tyrion of House Lannister

Fear of giving a negative feedback

Some managers don’t know how to give negative feedback. But, remember that if you don’t tell them they may never know how to get out of the loops of mistakes they make. For starters focus on their achievements and then dish out negative criticism. Let it never get personal. A week or two after doing appraisals sit them down and see if they’ve actioned upon the feedback. Say a few words of appreciation if they’re doing well. Validation is important. Most importantly make yourself available because your input is all that which matters to getting them to outperform themselves.

Related: Ways to Give Negative Feedback to Creative People

Inadequate preparation to review

If as a manager you have a bigger team to handle then the fear stems from not having ‘enough’ time to review every member’s performance. That however is quite an unacceptable excuse. As a matter of fact any such excuse is rather improper because it is your responsibility to monitor every one’s performance graph. You should know why it’s dipping and when it’s soaring. If you’re abreast with everything and everyone even remotely then this is enough to take pressure off you. A daunting figure of reviewing 20 people (more or less) will cease to haunt you.

You don’t know how to set deliverables

It doesn’t matter if you’re a first time manager or seasoned one, the task of setting deliverables can be tricky. No wonder you feel terrified at the sheer thought of sitting across team mates and setting their KRAs and then marking them during performance appraisals period. To rid yourself of the anxiety make sure you go through your KRAs first. Being aware of what’s on your plate will make you mindful of what needs core attention and what can be delegated. Also understand their strengths and allot work accordingly.

Whatever your opinion be, make sure you shoulder the responsibility of leading a team with all seriousness. There’s a couple of people whose career graph depends on how well you lead and manage them. Most importantly be there for them because that sets a tone to your relationship with them.

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