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Your feedback/ review enhances or kills Performance of team member?

12 Oct
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#Performance #Reviews are sometime the most hated words by team members. Many times it creates heart burns on both side of table!  While the member is not #happy with the reviews. The managers are also scared of the performance review meetings!

Member's general feeling is that “My work is not FULLY recognized and too much focus was on what did not work”. Managers invariably they end up either making their members wrong or don’t give any honest feedback!  They seldom  got trained for these discussions.  At the end of a day, the manager gives feedback because he/she wants the member to grow (Many time they give feedback to check the box). Giving developmental feedback that is well received is an art that can be learnt!

One of the most important lessons that I learnt surprisingly from a parenting course conducted by “#Parwarish”. In the parenting program, we learnt how quickly we give labels/ brand to our kids. Some of these labels are “Brilliant, not good in sports, well mannered, lazy, too good in arts, don’t want to study etc”.  Once the kids start to relate to themselves as these labels, they don’t have any opportunity of being themselves. They just show up  true to these labels. So for example, if a kid relates to herself as “brilliant”, she will not ask a question which is supposedly dumb!  She will only behave brilliantly at all time, even when the time is to learn…... It is like a cage that got woven around them by others and themselves.  Both positive and negative labels do equal harm to the kids.

My aha! moment came when I saw that this is what we do in our corporate life.  We end up branding our #people. At least I ended up doing it so many times!  My people carried grudges for many years! I still remember a very good member in HR team and how she couldn’t come out of the feedback that I gave. I told her that “You are doing great #engagement activities, but they are getting predictable and boring. #Innovation need to come in the people's engagements”  The part that got stuck with her was “Vineet told me I am not good enough and not innovative”.  I could have done a better job in this feedback….

I've always done everything at my disposal to avoid labeling what I do, or to avoid being labeled myself - Boyd Rice

So what could have been done?  What I learnt was to label the act rather than the person.  When we label the act, we don’t weave a cage.  So for example, in the kid’s case, instead of saying “You are brilliant, ” we can say “The answers that you have given are brilliant”!  Instead of saying “My son is a great tennis player”, you can say “You played well today!”  In the second one you are leaving an opportunity for your son to be human.  He can still lose the game and can be okay about it by focusing on what is there to learn rather than defending the defeat!  This is how ongoing growth in anything is achieved.  There is a world of difference between labeling the person and labeling the act!

Do you think the same logic can be applied to our people in work life?  Will it be good if we can consistently train ourselves to change the language from:

  • She is a bad coder === This piece of code can be improved
  • John is a great sales guy === This win is incredible!  Great work John!
  • Why do you always come late? === Today you are late.  Let me know if I can do something to help.
  • You don’t listen === I think I am not communicating well enough today

In one of the popular Ted Talk, Carol Dweck talks about growth mindset vs performance mindset. She extensively talks about praising the process and effort rather than the end result.  In another Ted talk titled “How to get better at the things you care about”, the speaker Eduardo Briceno talks about being in learning zone and performance zone.  Performance reviews are also in learning zone with a bit performance zone.

Performance reviews need to be done with a growth mindset rather than performance mindset.  It needs to be renamed as “Growth / Learning Reviews”  This new mindset will create members who are learning, attitude to fight challenges, deeply related to the company & manager and innovation!  

What are your thoughts?  It will be great to learn from your experiences.  How does performance reviews look like in your company?  What is working for you and what is not working? Did you received training in giving feedback and leading performance review meetings? Do you think that performance review/ feedback is one of the most common factors on why people leave the company (many times because of so called bad boss)