During my leadership days in several organisations, I noticed that a formal appraisal or development conversation was one of the most uncomfortable situations, for both the Manager and the subordinate.
Managers and leaders constantly struggle to give direct and constructive feedback. They fear growing resistance. They predict higher attrition. They worry of rejection.
The trend is growing amongst leaders to stop feedback and instead feed forward. Simply put, focus on progressing the relationship and working on development areas constructively than doing an investigation of the past.
In many instances, leaders list an array of ‘Star’ awardees periodically to mark appreciation. More often than not, this is delayed beyond a reasonable time and the felicitation sounds more like an announcement than a celebration to the recipient.
It is very important development conversations –
- are timely and do not delay any important conversations
- are focused on both compliments (on what has worked well) as well as on the complaints (on what needs improvement)
- are specific (with instances and observations) and do not generalize
- do not stock up compliments with a surprise ‘Star’ Award for later
- give full attention and managers listen more than speak, and
- establish the level of self-awareness before giving developmental inputs.
To be respected, leaders will need to be more direct in their conversations. They will need to be fair when they judge and should avoid bias. You owe it to your employees/team !