Summary of Fearless Performance Reviews

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Performance reviews shape employees’ pay and promotions and affect their sense of self-worth. Managers detest performance reviews and have as much on the line as their staffers due to their overall responsibility for performance. The way most companies structure performance reviews brings out the worst in everybody. The more managers turn into posturing “my-way-or-the-highway” dictators, the more employees become surly, defensive obstructionists who feel threatened by evaluations they reject. Fortunately, you can take a better path to performance reviews by facilitating “performance-coaching conversations,” instead. Organizational experts Jeffrey and Linda Russell explain how to conduct performance reviews that actually improve performance. Their “fearless performance review” construct is a solid contribution to this process, even if some steps still sound a little scary. getAbstract recommends this productive path to those charged with review policy, HR professionals, and all supervisors and managers.

About the Authors

Jeffrey and Linda Russell are principals of Russell Consulting Inc. and the authors of nine other books, including Leading Change Training and Strategic Planning Training.



Reviewing Performance Reviews

Everyone hates performance reviews – the employees who face them and the managers who administer them. The biggest problem is performance reviews’ confrontational structure and judgmental style. Often, these reviews generate stressful conversations that make everyone uncomfortable; they stifle honest and open communication between supervisors and employees.

Because of performance reviews’ negative, pain-inducing structure, managers often delay them as long as possible. And staffers under review often quickly become defensive. They worry about their managers’ judgments and how the review’s findings will affect their status and remuneration.

Performance reviews are a fairly new phenomenon. They became popular during World War II as a result of the pioneering work of Fredrick Taylor, the father of “scientific management.” Taylor believed that employees could not be trusted to take charge of their own work. He told companies that managers should control the planning of all employees’ work activities. Most companies subsequently organized their workflow in adherence with Taylor’s principles. They instituted performance reviews in the...

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