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5 biggest mistakes managers make when carrying out staff appraisals

Duncan Brodie

Staff appraisals or staff performance reviews are pretty common in most organizations these days. While these sessions should be an ideal opportunity to reflect and get the best from each and every employee, it does not always turn out that way. So what are the 5 biggest mistakes managers make when carrying out staff appraisals?
Mistake 1:
One way focus :  Some managers take the view that people are employed to do a particular role and it is only the organization that matters. As a result, the focus of the discussion is all about the organization and there is little or no focus on the needs of the individual. Unless you want to be the manager who has record levels of turnover of staff, make sure that the focus is not all just one way.
Mistake 2:
Talking too much:  You are the boss, right? The chances are you are used to giving directions to staff and them getting on and doing what is needed. Maybe you kind of listen to them from time to time but it’s possible that you do most of the talking and they do most of the listening. You then go into a staff appraisal meeting and adopt the same style of management and are surprised that the employee is uninterested. In appraisals, remember to have big eyes, big ears and a small mouth. In other word look and listen more and talk less.
Mistake 3:
Being vague about expectations :  Setting objectives is always part and parcel of any staff appraisal. Yet often managers are vague when it comes to setting objectives. Objectives need to be very specific and measurable and focus on the results you want from the employee. Make sure that the objectives include some personal growth or development.
Mistake 4:
Not Preparing:  This for me is a cardinal sin. Your staff have probably turned up and worked hard week in, week out. They only have the chance once or twice a year to sit down and have this open discussion with you and get the feedback on how they are doing. Don’t you think you owe it to those you are appraising to be properly prepared with really good feedback?
Mistake 5:
Substance over form : One of the things that really use to frustrate me was when people became so obsessed with getting the forms completed that the discussion almost became an inconvenience. While you need to have a record of discussions and agreements, don’t fall into the trap of putting the paperwork ahead of the needs of individuals.
The bottom line:
Staff appraisals can be great opportunities to increase engagement and motivation if you are ready to give them the attention they deserve.
Duncan Brodie is Managing Director of Goals and Achievements and works with accountants and business professionals who want to become effective leaders and managers and achieve more career success.

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