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Giving employee feedback

It’s appraisal season in my agency.

And like all such seasons, some conversations have sticky points.

So yesterday,I was reminded of a colleague I had a few years ago.

Being part of a global network and regional teams, often ones colleagues and bosses are geographically spread around the region.

So this colleague was in a location away from his boss.

His performance was coming under increasing question by his colleagues and a few clients. And this was bubbling up to his boss.

However, this employee was hired by the boss personally, so there was some ‘face’ involved in decision making.

After talking to a few of us on the team, the boss decided that he would move this colleague to work directly under the his supervision in the same city. So we all agreed that, that was a good enough plan.

Transfer employee from location A to location B to work directly with the boss. This would also give the boss the opportunity to assess the person and take a call in 6 months time. We agreed that the boss would basically give the employee a set of clear objectives, a talking to and a time line.

Seemed like that was an amicable solution all around.

A week before this colleague actually moved he and I were having a chat and he let slip that he had been told by the boss that as he was doing so well, the boss wanted him to come work more closely with him in location B.!!!

The whole performance thing was never mentioned at all. The colleague saw it as a reward for his hard work, that he was moving to “HQ” to work directly with BOSS.

This is just one example of reluctance to give ‘negative’, I would say ‘constructive’, feedback to an employee.

I think organisation life is full of such examples. On a scale of 1 -5, where 5 is great..giving a 3 itself is rather hard.

I am not getting into Job Descriptions and Objectives for evaluation yet. That is another story.

I  recall a colleague mentioning that he had a boss, who after any presentation he made, would sit him down for 5 minutes and do an immediate analysis of the ‘Good’ and the ‘Not So Good’ pieces of the meeting. It was done when it was fresh in everyones mind and it was immediate. So you always knew, how you did. And balanced feedback gave you a chance to improve.

If someone is not doing well, she/he deserves to know. And the boss must offer a way to overcome that challenge.

It may be coaching, mentoring, new role, or even new job. Else we are basically moving a problem around hoping that someone else will solve it.

Which is not fair to the employee of course, but also damaging to the company in the long term.

There is an opportunity for companies to offer training to bosses on giving balanced feedback to their employees.

We owe it to them

And someone owes it to me!!

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