4 Things An IT Leader Should Never Do During A Performance Review

by drjim on March 3, 2011

4 Things That Will Send You The Wrong Way During A Performance Review

4 Things That Will Send You The Wrong Way During A Performance Review

Most IT managers have never been trained on how to properly conduct a performance review with members of their team. What this means is that all too often they end up doing these reviews incorrectly. Not only is this bad for the team – you can’t fix what nobody knows about, but it could also have disastrous consequences for the company. Let’s talk about four of the biggest mistakes IT managers make and how you can avoid them.

Failing To Create A Plan To Close Performance Gaps

One of the most important parts of any performance review is the identification of gaps in a team member’s performance. Once you’ve identified these gaps, you need to talk with the employee about how they are going to be taken care of.

The most important part of this discussion is getting the employee to make suggestions on how the gap can be closed. This is important so that they take ownership of the solution. Your role as an IT manager is to listen to the solution that they propose and to probe it. Ask questions about any part that is unclear and make suggestions for how the solution can be changed to make it more likely that the plan will solve the problem.

In the end you and the employee will need to create a plan to deal with any performance gaps. This plan should have specific goals, a timeline for completing the work, and a clear identification of the outcomes that you expect.

Forgetting To Reexamine Performance Goals

A great deal of time may have passed since the last time you had a performance review with members of your team. It’s entirely possible that during that time, employees may have forgotten or jumbled their understanding of what goals they are supposed to be working towards.

As an IT manager, the performance review is an excellent time to revisit the goals that the entire team should be working on. As part of this discussion you need to discuss how the employee’s work will be measured against the goals.

Depending on how the employee’s performance has been during this period, they may need help in achieving the goals. This is the time to sit down and work with that employee to create a plan that will allow them to be able to achieve the goals that they are working on.

Not Getting It On Record

In this era of too many lawsuits, IT managers who don’t write down what happens during a performance review are risking a lawsuit against their company as well as their career. You should always take notes during the actual performance review and then take the time after the review to formalize those notes shortly after the performance review while you still have a clear memory of the events.

It’s what’s in those notes that will really count. You need to have all of the basics: date, key points made by you, key points made by the employee. However, there is more that you need to add. You’ll need to carefully document any disagreements that came up and what next steps were agreed on by both sides. Ultimately you are going to want to get the employee to sign your notes in order to indicate that everyone agrees on what the next steps that were agreed to were.

No Follow-Up

All too often it’s easy for an IT manager to breath a sigh of relief once the performance reviews have been completed. That’s all over with and you won’t have to worry about it again until the next performance review period. Actually this isn’t the case.

Every performance review meeting deserves a follow-up from you. The reason for this follow up is to check to see how the members of your team are doing with the new goals that you have given to them. The high performers probably won’t need any help, but the others may need additional coaching or training that you can provide them with.

What All Of This Means For You

Performance reviews are a critical part of every IT manager’s job. This is the most effective tool that you have to keep your team orientated towards achieving the company’s goals. The problem is that all too often IT managers have never been taught how to conduct performance reviews.

Just as important as knowing what to do, IT managers also have to know what not to do. Some of the things that they need to avoid doing include not creating a plan to close employee performance gaps, ignoring performance goals, forgetting to get the results of the performance review written down, and not following up after the review is over.

Now you know four performance review mistakes that others have made in the past. By avoiding these common mistakes, IT managers can transform a performance review into what it really should be — a powerful tool for change.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How soon after a performance review do you think that an IT manager should conduct a follow-up?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

IT managers understand that they are responsible for conducting performance appraisals with their team every so often. What many IT managers don’t realize is that they are also responsible for what comes next: coaching

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