This article comes from Entrepreneur.
If you structure the performance-review process well, you’ll avoid this SOS-type response, because your team members will feel in control of their situations. You’ll empower your team members to boost their performance, advance in their career and reduce their stress levels. Here are four steps that you can apply to create a performance-review process that enables your team to thrive.
Your employees need to have a map to tell them where they should go. If they don’t, they’ll get lost at sea. Ambiguity causes anxiety. When anxiety is prolonged, it increases cortisol in the body. This takes a heavy toll and leads to clouded thinking and impulsive reactions. You can set your employees up for success by clearly outlining how they will be evaluated and how often. It’s important to dig deep and outline key result areas and indicators of success. These performance standards will help you avoid surprises when having difficult performance conversations. You should also outline how often your team members should expect feedback and in what format. Will it be annually? Quarterly? Monthly? If your team members don’t know how they’ll be evaluated, they’re likely to fall short, which will only cause both of your stress levels to increase.
Your team members grow quickly, develop new skills quickly and can also veer off-track quickly. Strong, constant communication ensures a cohesive environment and boosts morale. When employees understand their company’s direction, they feel more secure. When feedback is constant, it becomes an expected source of welcome pulse points. When structuring your performance-review process, try to use a diversity of data points. You should include 360-degree reviews, real-time feedback and self-evaluations. All data points are valid. When feedback is constant, your team members will appreciate that they can quickly correct behavior rather than needing to wait for an annual review. The entire experience becomes less stressful — even welcome. I dedicate a section to this notion in my book, Stress-Less Leadership.
When delivering performance reviews, it’s important to evaluate how each of your reports can improve. You should have an ongoing individual development plan for each of your reports that you can refine and add to. You should include the skills and competencies they need to build in order to boost their performance and advance in their careers. The more concrete you can be, the better. Try to identify specific skills and behaviors that can help them. When your team members have roadmaps to improvement that are based on evidence, they are more engaged, perform better and are less stressed. As a leader, you’re also less stressed knowing that your employees are growing in their roles.
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