Employees Should Control the Performance Evaluation Meeting

Give the employee about a week’s advance notice of the performance evaluation by putting something on the calendar. Make sure he or she knows the whole performance evaluation process before starting on the first session. But that’s the countdown to kick off. Give him a week to fill out the input sheet.

Bear in mind that they are going to be giving a 45-minute presentation to the boss about their career. 90% of the talk time to be the employee’s lips moving and 10% of the lip movement in that meeting should be coming from the boss. If you come in having done only 25 minutes of preparation, you’re going to be winging it a lot. Since this is your limited opportunity to have your boss focused on you and your career, spend a little bit more time preparing.

Then when the employee comes to this performance evaluation meeting, it’s going to be kind of unusual. The boss should have his calls held, turn off his cell phone, and get rid of other distractions. Have them go the door, put a sign on the door that says “Coaching in progress.” If you start at 2:00, it says “Available at 3 o’clock” so that people don’t feel like they’re getting brownie points for interrupting you and come on in. During this performance evaluation meeting the employee should feel like “Wow! You’re giving me your full and complete attention.”

Don’t have three project managers sit there with one hapless employee. It’s three times as intimidating and three times as expensive. And probably three times as confusing because nobody is going to agree on exactly what the priorities are for you.

Bosses: Shut up during the performance evaluation
Now, this is the most critical part of this performance evaluation meeting. The boss needs to shut up. The way you shut up is you ask good questions. When it’s your number one goal and there is no other goal in this thing, to learn who this person is and prepare yourself to be a coach, even managers stand a chance to being able to pull this off, okay?

And it’s a distinct honor to watch somebody do this and really engage and lock and load. I worked with a lot of ADD-driven type A people. And I’ve seen them put all that energy into asking good questions and listening during this performance evaluation meeting. And it’s a powerful, powerful thing. It’s a real privilege for the person who’s in there talking to have the full attention of a really smart manager.

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