Get rid of the performance review

Samuel Colbert says it is

a one-side-accountable, boss-administered review is little more than a dysfunctional pretense. It’s a negative to corporate performance, an obstacle to straight-talk relationships, and a prime cause of low morale at work. Even the mere knowledge that such an event will take place damages daily communications and teamwork.

His solution? Performance previews:

reciprocally accountable discussions about how boss and employee are going to work together even more effectively than they did in the past. Previews weld fates together. The boss’s skin is now in the game.

In my experience,  the workplace is not that dialogical. I side with Lucy Kellaway at the FT: few managers talk or think like that. Among other things because they have to take part in the same process themselves.

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Dealing with criticism

  1. Listen to what a critic is saying.
  2. Don’t be defensive.
  3. Don’t fire back by criticizing your critic.
  4. Delay your reaction.
  5. Explain honestly the reason for your actions.
  6. Admit your mistakes.
  7. Explain what you’ve learned.
  8. Enjoy the fun of failure.

via The Happiness Project

Reacting to decline, dissatisfaction and dilemmas

I discuss in class the five ways in which people will react when faced with an ethical dilemma:

  • Exit
  • Voice
  • “Loyalty”
  • Neglect/Sabotage
  • Whistle-blowing.

The first three I paraphrase from a book by Albert Hirschman. The other two I picked up from research sources, as well as, sadly, my own experience.

The challenge for managers is to identify the behaviors and events that are symptomatic of these reactions, and to establish that said reactions are their cause.

The subtle art of conversation

It works best when you share the spotlight, taking turns talking and listening: Shut up and listen.
Seriously. Shut up. That means more than just quieting your mouth. It means more than simply waiting your turn to talk. It means quieting the noise in your head so that you can really hear what the other person is saying.

Now prove you were listening.
That’s right. Show me you care. Ask genuine questions that send the conversation in new directions. Talk to me about what I’m talking to you about. Otherwise, we’re just making noise.

Don’t worry, you’ll get your turn.
It’s not likely that anyone will listen to you, if you don’t listen to them first. Because when you really pay attention, and you show it, you build trust. You build rapport. You get a reputation for being smart, and thoughtful even, no matter that you’ve said very little. And suddenly people will want to hear what you have to say. (tiny gigantic)