Supervisory Leadership

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Supervisory Leadership Question

What do you do if you think your boss has given you an unfavorable review?

What do you do if you think your boss has given you an unfavorable review?

To answer your question, let's begin with what the performance evaluation process should look like. When I train folks in how to do this, I tell them there are two key points

  • The evaluation should follow whatever procedure the organization has in place.
  • There should be no surprises on either side.

If you've gotten an unfavorable review, your options may be limited by your organization's policy. You're going to have to comply with them, even if you're seeking other remedies in the meantime.

You also have to begin work to assure that this doesn't happen again. Most often, when there are surprises at evaluation time, it means that the boss and subordinate haven't communicated enough about behavior/performance during the evaluation period. Well, if the mountain won't come to you, you're going to have to go to the mountain.

Begin to initiate the kind of frequent contact that offers you the opportunity to communicate with your boss on performance issues. That will also give him or her opportunities to communicate with you.

That leaves the question about immediate action to take to put things right which go beyond your organization's process. What you do there will depend a lot on your boss, your relationship with your boss, and both of your individual styles.

In some cases you'll be able to go in, sit down and say, "Boss, I don't think this is right." In other situations that same behavior will make you a candidate for vilification and torture.

There are no easy answers here, only intelligent choices. There are lots of ways to do that but let me suggest four dimensions of communication that you should think about before taking your case to the boss.

  • Should you start from personal relationship or start for task-based measurement?
  • Should you be direct or indirect?
  • Should you ask for a quick decision or give the boss time to reflect?
  • Should you make your case orally or in writing?

Your choices have more to do with personal styles and relationship than they do with one best way.


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