It's not always the best part of the job, but every manager is tasked with reviewing and evaluating staff performance, whether it's for your IT department or a project team. This can be a difficult and stressful moment for all concerned, particularly when the news is bad. Read on to learn more about criticism and the steps needed to make it "constructive".
Whenever performance related criticism is in order, that criticism should be constructive and appropriate, and it should always be offered in the right context.... to help the employee get back on the right track. This is not an easy task, but with the right perspective, a well prepared manager can make the most of what could otherwise be a very uncomfortable situation. It's all a matter of readiness. So, before you prepare a negative performance review, or need to deliver verbal criticism to a staff member, make sure you have all the facts. Here's how it works.....
Start with the Basic Performance Questions
- Have performance objectives been fully and clearly defined for the employee?
- Has there been an ongoing pattern of performance problems or is this an isolated incident?
- If this is an isolated incident requiring immediate attention, are you aware of all pertinent facts, events, and extenuating circumstances?
- Have you consulted with your manager and/or Human Resources to ensure that you are handling the matter in accordance with all internal policies?
Preparing for Constructive Results
With just three (3) primary steps you can get prepared for any coaching event and turn existing "negatives" into an ultimately positive and productive experience. At a minimum, you will have taken concrete steps to address potentially serious performance problems. (Also Read: Evaluating Team Readiness).
Step 1: Set the Time
- If you are reacting to a specific performance problem, make sure that feedback is given as soon as possible after the incident occurs.
- If you are preparing a negative performance review, make sure that your employee has sufficient notice and information to prepare for any related meeting.
Step 2: Set the Stage
- Rehearse what you plan to say so that you can properly control the meeting, ensuring that you are well versed and confident in your opinion.
- Be positive - stating the facts, but focusing on improvement. (here's what happened, here's why it's problem, now let's talk about what can be done....).
- Be calm and consistent in your message.
- Be specific - offering concrete facts and examples.
- Be helpful - establish concrete actions for improvement to coincide with a specified timetable. Clearly identify tangible improvement goals that can be measured.
- Ask for feedback - performance communication is a two way street. You want to ensure that your staff member has a chance to participate in the process. At the very least, you need to know that your employee understands the nature of the performance problem, and the need for improvement.
- Ask questions ..... how do you think you can avoid this problem in the future? How can I help you to improve your performance?
- End on a positive note - thank your staff member for their participation, showing respect and consideration for their feelings. Be sure to affirm your commitment to their performance improvement.
Learn to Fast Track
Even under the best of circumstances, management is a challenge. When you learn to fast track, you’ll learn to work smarter, not harder. And that’s the value of every lesson, resource and template available at Fast Track Manage Learning. And you can start learning for free! Learn More
Step 3: Follow-up
If you have given your staff member any specific steps for performance improvement, make sure you set and stick to a specific timetable for follow-up and review. Don't leave the situation hanging until the next problem occurs.
Review your own performance. When all is said and done, your own instincts will tell you whether you have met your constructive criticism goals in each individual circumstance.
These are the questions to be considered…..
- Was your criticism constructive?
- Did you offer specific facts to support your opinion?
- Did you offer tangible suggestions for improvement?
- Did you engage the staff member in the discussion?
- Did you learn anything new as a result of this encounter?
- Did you feel good at the end of the meeting?
- Has a next step clearly been identified for your employee?
THE IT SERVICE STRATEGY TOOLKIT
If you're looking for a fast, easy way to achieve IT service success, you'll find it inside the IT Service Strategy Toolkit. This unique, informative online course gives you everything you need to become an IT management leader and service planning expert. Here's what you'll learn:
The I.T. Service Strategy Toolkit is an easy, engaging online course, containing over 50+ education components, teaching you how to use the multi-stage 'Service Strategy Process' to organize the I.T. service function and deliver value-added I.T. services.
Topics covered include developing the IT mission, organizing the IT service department, planning IT management policies, managing the IT/end-user service relationship, performing the IT service review, and more.
Techniques covered include 'Define, Align and Approve', the 'Manage by Process Framework', the IT/End User Partnership, Proactive Problem Management and more.
Download the tools and templates to produce the I.T. Vision Statement and multiple Service Review deliverables.
Build and improve strategic planning skills, as you learn time-saving techniques to become a more productive IT manager or service professional.
Course enrollment provides lifetime access to all components, with all future updates and additions included.
Source: Unless noted otherwise, all content is created by and/or for ITtoolkit.com
ITtoolkit.com staff writers have experience working for some of the largest corporations, in various positions including marketing, systems engineering, help desk support, web and application development, and IT management.
ITtoolkit.com is part of Right Track Associates, proprietors and publishers of multiple web sites including ITtoolkit.com, Fast Track Manage, HOA Board List and more. We started ITtoolkit.com in 2001 and have continued to grow our web site portfolio, Toolkit products, and related data services. To learn more, visit us at Right Track Associates.