Performance reviews are essential in any workplace.  It is the best way for your team members informed on their progression, as well as giving them the ability to plan on how to strengthen their weaknesses.

When reviewing an individual first you have to determine what the purpose is; i.e.a high potential employee with a bright future, a standard quarterly review, a disciplinary review, etc.  It is the purpose of the review that changes the context of the conversation.  Are you wanting for focus more on the strengths of the individual or is this a review to discuss which areas need work?  Regardless there are a number of guidelines you should follow while delivering a performance review:

Give complete undivided attention
It is important that you have a discussion with your team member that demonstrates that you about them.  If you are going to be writing notes, or jotting down responses always let your team members know what you are doing. Put your phones and PDAs away so there are no interruptions.

Create a welcoming atmosphere
Never make your reviews an anxious moment; you will not get honest answers or effective results.  If you team member is afraid to talk to you or hesitant to listen to what you have to say then they will not receive the message fully, creating a communication derailer. A good technique is to deliver at a table and not across a desk. This provides a better environment for dialogue.

Always make it a coachable moment
Never criticize, coach!  This is an area that many clients I work with are often challenged with.  Never criticize the person, only the behavior or action they took. Ask them questions so they can understand the impact of their actions and explore how they might improve in the future. And remember that this technique can be used all the time.  Don’t leave it for your formal performance review, use it as you observe coachable moments.

Give the team member something to think about
Never let a team member leave without a clear forward direction and actionable tasks.  Even if they are at the top of their field, they will always have something to learn or some new experience they could benefit from.

Leave time at the end for questions
You should never be the last one to talk during a review.  You are giving your team member  a lot of information in a short amount of time.  If you were doing your job correctly you were catching the great moments as well as the bad and recording them.  They might have questions or clarifications about those moments.  Always leave time for conversation or questions at the end of an interview.

What additional techniques do you use to insure a performance review has positive results?

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