Saturday, October 30, 2010

Assessments – judging your people

When I started out as a leader, one of the hardest parts of my job (I thought) was to assess my people. Once or twice a year I had to grade them, and rank them. I felt bad about evaluating my people; I thought they were all good. And anyway: how was I going to be able to judge their performance?

Let’s talk about how to change your perspective on this.

Imagine an athlete who is training. And training. And is getting better but never gets to compete. What will happen to the motivation?

Everyone wants to be good at something and everybody wants to know how good they are compared to others.

(If this is NOT true for someone in your team, you might want to have another conversation with her.)

So let’s for now assume it’s correct. Then you owe your people to help evaluate HOW good they are.

It is a circle. You start the process by agreeing on clear targets, SMART goals and how to achieve them. You coach them during the period (year) and at the end of the period (year) you evaluate their performance compared to the goals and targets. And then you can start again with targets and goals. The cycle continues year after year.

At a particular point in the cycle you are NOT the coach or the friend or the colleague. You are the representative of the company. You are the boss. You actually are there to judge the performance. And to tell them how good they are. And to tell them what needs to improve.

Make sure you are factual. Make sure the targets are SMART in the first place. Make sure you listen to the person’s point of view and get their input on how they evaluate themselves towards the goals and targets. Maybe your assessment isn’t too far from their own?

Make sure your assessment is based on facts and figures. This is the hardest part, because you have created targets and goals that are really hard to evaluate at the end of the period.

So stay tuned for a talk on SMART targets.

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