Supervisory Leadership

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How do you conduct the perfect review?

The work on the perfect review starts long before the review itself. That's because the formal review is nothing more than a milestone in an ongoing review process.

Good bosses follow what I call the "Dinosaur Rule." Behavior and performance problems are like dinosaurs. If you deal with them when they're small, they're relatively easy and painless to fix. If you wait till they get big, they can eat you.

Set clear and reasonable expectations for the people who work for you. Check to make sure they understand what you want and that they can deliver.

Give frequent and usable feedback. Tell people how they're doing. Praise good performance and behavior. Correct that which needs correcting.

Let people know if what they're doing will result in documentation and potential discipline. Document if necessary.

If you do all this, then there will be no surprises and the official review time. People who work for you will know how they're doing.

Then you can devote your time to discussing growth and improvement, concentrating on the future instead of the past. That's the perfect review.

Here's a stat you may find interesting. When I studied top performing supervisors in a large organization, I found that their annual review meetings with subordinates were about three times as long as the meetings of their less-successful peers. That time was used to talk about future performance, unlike their peers, who spent their time on the past.


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