A performance review is one of the work-life events that all too often brings fear to the hearts of supervisors and their employees. Supervisors prepare for them, stacking one employee against another, anticipating defensive reactions, justifying conclusions, and shoring up their courage to corral the employee into submission. Employees typically lose sleep the night before, think of excuses for performance that fell short of expectations, and worry about their good standing in the organization. It can be a tough and painful experience for both supervisors and employees.
Why all this worry, fear, and consternation? The overwhelming reason for the attitudes and behaviors of both the supervisor and the employee is that each typically focuses on their own needs – all of which sum to the one goal of surviving the performance review with egos intact and self-esteem preserved. Simply put, they each focus on themselves.
What’s missing? From a CEO’s perspective, what’s missing is the concern for how each performance review can help the organization grow. Yes, the supervisor focuses on the employee’s performance, that’s critical. But doing so in the glaring absence of what’s good for the organization is self-serving, short-sighted, costly, and goes right to the bottom line.
How can presentation skills help? In our training, we teach that presentations should always begin and end with a key point. That point should inform those listening to the presentation:
- Why they should listen in the first place; 2. Why they should keep listening? 3. What they should remember; and 4. What they should do. We call this focus – presenting from The Listener’s Point of View.
2 Approaches To Delivering Tough Feedback During Performance Reviews
Compare these two approaches to conducting a performance review:
- “John, as you know it’s time for your performance review. I’m going to let you know about my concerns – particularly in the area of your listening skills. I have a letter here from one of your clients. Here’s a quote from the letter: ‘John just doesn’t listen to me. All he wants is to sell me more expensive products, which I’m open to considering. But he really doesn’t seem to care what I want. It’s all about what he wants.’
John, unless you start taking this job more seriously and start listening to your customers, we’ll likely need to make some changes around here.”
- “John, as you know it’s time for your performance review. We’ll focus on how and why listening skills are so important to helping our company grow. The more our customers feel like we’ve heard them, the more we’ll build loyalty. And relationships like that will lead to more sales over time. That said, I have a letter from one of your customers who feels that you haven’t been listening to what she wants and instead are just trying to get her to buy more expensive products. Let’s take look at the letter together and figure out what can we can do to make our customer feel like we understand her concerns.
Once we do that, she’ll be much more open to what we have to say and how our products can help her. And the more we can build this loyalty with her and all of our customers, the more we’ll be helping our company grow and be successful – which is good for all of us.”
Performance Reviews: What’s The Difference?
The difference between these two performance reviews is between two distinct perspectives.
The perspective in the first example is employee-centered. The perspective in the second example is company-centered. The presentation skills in the second example frame the performance review by focusing the employee’s attention to the main point – the company-centered perspective, both at the beginning and the end. In so doing, the supervisor informs the employee 1. Why to listen in the first place; 2. Why to keep listening; 3. What to remember; and 4. What to do.
Whether you’re a company leader or an employee who aspires to be one, the Presentation Skills Learning System teaches how you can use presentation skills to you reach your own career goals and in so doing, help your company grow.