Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

3 Things Not to Do When Giving a Performance Review

By Maurie Backman - Dec 6, 2018 at 8:18AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Performance reviews can be tough on employees. Here's what you can do as a manager to make them better.

It's that time of the year at the office -- a time to sit your employees down and tell them where they stand by giving out performance reviews. Many workers dread these reviews because they're awkward and uncomfortable, and some managers aren't fans, either. But if you're tasked with delivering a series of reviews as the calendar year wraps up, you'll want to make them as helpful and effective as possible.

With that in mind, here are a few things you shouldn't do during those reviews.

1. Focus only on the negative

The purpose of performance reviews is to tell employees what they're doing right and where there's room for improvement. But if you fixate on the latter too much, your employees might start to think that in your mind, they can't do anything right. That, in turn, can hurt their morale and make them question whether they ought to stay on board.

Man with a serious expression and a collared shirt sitting across from a woman in an office

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Therefore, when you give your reviews, aim to have, at the very least, an equal mix of positive and negative things to say. Maybe you have an employee who's terrible at giving presentations because his public-speaking skills are sorely lacking, but if that person always researches his points thoroughly, give that a mention as well. You might say, "Your presentations are extremely well-thought-out. Now let's work on your public-speaking skills to better do them justice." This way, you're not just being critical.

2. Criticize without offering concrete solutions

As a manager, it's your job to make your employees aware of their shortcomings. At the same time, simply telling them what they've been doing wrong probably won't do much to help them get better. If you really want to see their performance improve, go into those reviews with concrete suggestions on how to address the challenges they've been facing.

For example, if you lead an IT team and have an employee whose updates consistently result in system bugs and network issues, don't just tell him that his carelessness is unacceptable. Instead, find a course that'll refresh or expand his knowledge, and suggest that he sign up for it. If you can get the company to help subsidize its cost, even better.

3. Deny your employees the chance to respond

Performance reviews shouldn't be one-sided. As the boss, you might be in charge of guiding those reviews and making sure you get a chance to convey key points, but that doesn't mean your employees should have to sit there silently, nodding along to your feedback. Rather, give them a chance to respond to your comments and ask any questions they might have.

If, for example, you ding an employee for not meeting project deadlines, that person might want a chance to explain that he's often forced to rely on other people's contributions that tend to come in at the last minute. Granted, that might not change the outcome of that review, but it might prompt you to address the greater issue at hand.

Performance reviews can be extremely productive if you go about them the right way. Avoid these mistakes, and with any luck, you and your employees will walk away from those conversations feeling good about how they went.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
652%
 
S&P 500 Returns
142%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/08/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.