How to give a more humane evaluation
Monday, May 07, 2018
Few face-to-face meetings are more nerve-racking for employees than biannual or annual evaluations.
Because of this fact, it's key for a manager to understand that even if the criticism you must dispense during these meetings is constructive, a nervous worker will most likely hear your words as coming from a negative place, and this can instantly foster distrust of you as a supervisor.
How can you provide your employees essential feedback with the utmost humanity and respect so they will feel supported and ready to implement your instructions for their work without any hard feelings?
Use the following communication strategies to ensure your evaluations will be more humane, constructive and clearly understood.
Be a giving boss
Make sure you're generous when it comes to crediting your employee for a work accomplishment. Also, it's key to listen genuinely to any concerns your employee has about the feedback you're giving.
Remember that an evaluation is a conversation, not a lecture; let your worker know that when you outline aspects of his or her performance that need improvement, you want to hear their opinion on how that can best be achieved, and you're appreciative of their efforts.
Plus, if you make the effort to be generous to your employee, you reap the benefit, too: a study by the University of Zurich found that you'll feel happier after making a kind effort because of neural changes that altruism causes in your brain.
Look your employee in the eye
Don't hide your face in your computer screen or paperwork because you find it hard to point out performance flaws.
Engage your employee with a pleasant, direct gaze and you'll not only make them more comfortable, you'll make them more likely to believe your comments about their work are true, according to German researchers.
Deliver praise both first and last
Start your comments with appreciation for good work before moving on to a more problematic area of performance. Then, make sure you finish on a positive note of praise as well.
Cushioning more blunt or critical comments this way will make employees feel more supported, and more motivated to make the changes and improvements you're pointing out. Plus, a study from North Carolina State University found that when a manager praises one member of a team, there's a "spillover effect" — the other members of that team will copy their co-worker's good performance, and the whole team accomplishes more.
Yes, it's important to be positive and respectful, but don't sugarcoat the truth, either. Be completely transparent about the improvements you expect an employee to make.
There is no doubt he or she wants to do the best job for you possible, and this can only happen when you level with that worker.
If your employee in turn feels little anxious about improving his or her work, that small amount of healthy anxiety can actually drive him or her to self-monitor and do a better job, according to University of Toronto researchers. The bottom line: never be cruel, mean or disparaging — trust that a wise employee will take your fairly-given feedback and use it to their best advantage.
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