This is an interesting 'reader question' that has just been posted on the Guardian today. The individual feels their performance is better than the rating they have received in their performance appraisals in the past 4 years.
How can I improve my performance review score? I feel I am being ignored
I would try the following before upping sticks, although I do agree in part with 11101 that it could be the culture in your particular team that you'll never be able to change...
Some questions I would ask are:
What specifically is holding you back in performing better in your job? What do you think you're doing well that is not being noticed?
What do you discuss with your manager on a day to day basis...does he give you regular feedback about what you're doing well, and, on the things you're not doing well, what exactly you can do about it?
What about the once-a-year performance review discussion - what do you talk about then?
You say that you feel your performance went unnoticed - did you point this out to anyone? I know you complained to your boss, but what did youactually complain about, and would it be more useful to go to him with a constructive plan for improving your performance.
What about 360 feedback - i.e. feedback from other people you work with. Is there a 360 process in your organisation you can use to get some evidence for your
performance? Or even get some informal feedback that you can report back to your boss?
Unfortunately unless you actively take control, nothing will change in your team. Your boss is either unwilling or unable to have the regular discussions to support your performance improvement, so you'll have to be a lot more pushy, but in an asssertive (not whining, sorry!) way.
I don't quite understand the performance ratings you've described. How does your organisation define 'delivering on expectations', and how does this relate to the overall final score you receive?
I think the answer to your dilemma is a mix of:
- Understanding the using the performance appraisal system to your advantage: make sure you set clear goals that can be measured so you can prove your performance
- Getting feedback from other colleagues, even customers if that's relevant to your job, so that you're able to go to your manager with hard evidence of what you've been doing
- Actively taking control and forcing your manager to sit down regularly with you (every couple of weeks at least), to talk about your performance and provide specific ideas on how you can improve (if this indeed is the problem).
If, after all this, it seems you really are underperforming, have you considered whether you're in the right job for your skills and capabilities?
There's nothing more frustrating than feeling your performance is not being recognised or rewarded - but in many organisations with not great managers you have to take it into your own hands, especially if you are, as you say, in a senior position.
You’ll be familiar with these: Narcissist, Wimp, Burnout, Bully and Territorial Boss, from the brilliant Guide to Bad Bosses by cult Illustrators Modern Toss.
My additions include: Sarcastic Boss – always have to have the last (sarcastic word), Patronising Boss (‘Going on holiday? We must be paying you too much…’) and One-Upmanship Boss (has seen, done and rejected every idea you come up with)...
Maybe these should be included in every boss's 'How Not to be a Good Boss' 360 Degree Feedback assessment.
This recent data in the Guardian makes very interesting reading.
Apprenticeships: 10 applications for every vacancy, data shows
It seems that the world of work has come full circle – way back in the middle ages, guilds came together to create quality and consistency in their particular trade. A strict system of training and apprenticeship grew up, allowing young people to learn directly from the Master. This simple but very effective system exploited the learning and experience of the Master, and gave the apprentice a long but clear path to his own expertise in the future. This is something that is missing in many people’s careers today – we are expected to develop our own skills, manage our careers and make our own way. Of course the world of work is radically different now, but ask anyone where they got their best training, and they’ll probably tell you that it was from a more experienced person whom they learned from by observation – and who they could turn to for advice.
This is also critical for handing on the key values and principles that the business wants to espouse. When we talk about values and having the right culture, we must realised that this can only happen if we have senior experienced people who model those values and are able to pass them on to the new people coming into the business.
In this fascinating article in Thursday's Guardian, the process of becoming a partner at investment bank Goldman Sachs is described in some detail.
While not undergoing a traditional 'partner pipeline' development process or assessment process that you would typically find in law firms or accountancy practices, prospective partners are assessed by current partners for their suitability as partners.
"To be selected, candidates will have survived a process known as "cross-ruffing", a term borrowed from the card game bridge. Insiders describe it as a rigorous cross-checking procedure that involves teams of Goldman partners interviewing each other about potential candidates".
In addition, candidatees 360 Degree Feedback and performance over their career at GS is also taken into account.
So although there is no formal interview, or 'assessment centre' activity, there is a thorough, well-understood way of promoting staff to partner level.
This is an interesting - and controversial - article in today's UK Training Zone. The writer is saying that, because of the history of how management developed, managers are poor at management because they treat their teams as inferiors and behave towards them 'as if they were children'.
I disagree strongly with this, and have posted a response. You can read it here:
This is a fascinating and thought-provoking article.
However I disagree strongly with your rationale for
why managers are so bad at managing!
Whilst it's true that the workforce is now more mature and well-educated
(in certain sectors and primarily in the developed economies), I don't think
this is due to a general poor attitude amongst managers. Of
course there are some managers who do behave in a dominating and
dictatorial way towards their teams.
But poor management is less about this, and much more about the lack of management skills
of the people who are promoted to 'management'in many organisations.
The typical first or second line manager still gets promoted based on their
ability to carry out their job, whether that's in a consultancy, a bank,
a factory or a retail store.
All of a sudden, Joanna Bloggs finds herself having to deal with 'people' stuff,
running a team, 'telling people what to do', and dealing with the consequences
when they don't do it.
The skills of listening, coaching, training and giving feedback are the most
important skills that managers need, and unfortunately they're the skills most
of us are bad at. We don't learn them in school or university, so many of us
only find out how bad we are once we've been given a team to manage!
And many organisations don't provide any training for new managers until they've been
in the role for a while, and struggling, and doing things wrong.
In its Employe Outlook Spring 2012 report, the CIPD says that while
employees are generally positive in their attitude to their immediate
line manager, they were less positive on line managers' on-the-job-coaching,
discussing their training needs, or feedback on performance.
Organisations can help managers to develop these skills without spending
lots of money, by giving managers some training and support in these
key skills, as well as some self-awareness and understanding of how they can
adapt their own style to a more coaching-centred way of managing.
Here's a link to my posting to UK HR Zone today, on how to help the Board to get through crises of confidence - and how to skill up the Board so that crises don't happen again.
"The manager is struggling, I've had to take on my own work and that of other people, and a performance review is being twisted to slur my character".
In this letter to the Guardian, an employee describes a recent move to an overseas office - and is very unhappy.
Being upset is normal in this situation and OP is certainly dealing with a lot of pressure. It may be that he does look for another job in the medium to long term, but in the meantime, he'll have to find a way of making your working day less of an ordeal - for his own sake, and for his colleagues' sake.
He seem to have viewed his manager and colleagues pretty negatively from the start - I'm not sure why this is. Maybe he is feeling anxious and might it be easier to deflect that by blaming all the problems on them/
To maintain his sanity, I'd suggest he takes a bit of control, in whatever way works for him. Here are some ideas:
- Take his manager out to lunch, or for a coffee. Get to know her and maybe understand her problems and worries. It may give him a better insight and it will help hisd ay to day relationship, even if they only talk marginally about work things. It may be a good opportunity to talk about his work load - yhe needs to judge that for himself.
- Ask for feedback on a regular basis - it doesn't have to be formal, but just a quick 'how did I do on that?', or 'was there anything I could have done differently?' can be revelatory. It does take a bit of humility though...
- Don't just ask for feedback from the manager - ask the team as well. They may be reluctant at first, but if he asks, listens and doesn't argue back, he will find them opening up and appreciating him more as a manager.
In this brilliant article, MG talks about how much leaders of large organisations have changed over the past 20 years. The CEOs of companies like General Mills, Dell and Johnson&Johnson, recognise that they need to develop their own skills in order to help others to develop. They believe that they themselves can learn from their colleagues, and are willing to be open about their own weaknesses and challenges. They ask for 360 Degree Feedback,talk openly about the feedback they receive and are willing to be evaluated by the same criteria as everyone else.
To Help Others Develop, Start with Yourself
What I love about this approach is that leaders – whether they are leading a team of two or a global company of thousands – are visible to their employees all the time, whether they realise it or not. And the people they work with will clearly see the leader’s strengths and challenges; the only difference is that they may not see the leader doing anything about them.
People are led by what their leaders do, not what they say. So leaders can really only change their followers by changing themselves, visibly and openly.
In our work with senior leaders in different sectors, we’re finding that attitudes are changing. Senior people with responsibility for business growth are starting to realise that:
It’s OK to ask for feedback
Your colleagues will have insights that will help you – no matter how smart or successful you are
It’s OK to admit you need to get better at some things – it’s not a sign of weakness
It’s OK to admit you don’t get it right all the time
Smart leaders listen and learn
For more information, videos and resources, visit tracksurveys.co.uk
This article from Ask Grapevine HR reports that the new CEO of Barclays Antony Jenkins, has told staff that bonuses will no longer be dependent only on financial performance. From now on, he has said (Barclays) "will reward people not only on the revenue they generate, but how they actually behave and do business". This is a critical shift in emphasis, particularly in the financial sector, and seems to recognise the importance not just of what people do, but how they do it.
Measuring what people do is easy - set them financial, time-based, efficiency, and client based goals. Of course these are importance for the business. But equally important is understanding how people are working. 360 Degree Feedback can be a powerful tool that benchmarks how individuals behave towards their colleagues, how well they manage, how well they lead and communicate, and critically what their leadership style and messages are telling other people. It's therefore critical to include an element of 360 when setting out to change values and culture in an organisation.
"My lazy boss is vocal, bossy and whispering. What can I do about it?"
This request for help comes from the Guardian newspaper, and the expert's advice is to put up or shut up.
However these kinds of perceptions by employees can be damaging to morale and performance. What if the person who complained about their boss is not the only one who feels this way? Because a manager is in a position of authority, it can be quite difficult for their own team to confront him or her with the evidence and the effects of their management style. So employees can just carry on, seething inside and waiting for an opportunity to leave. After all, research shows that the main reason people leave organisations is their boss - a good boss on the other hand is the main reason people stay.
360 Degree Feedback is a powerful tool for identifying dysfunctional behaviour by managers. It's not about dealing with a bad employee/manager relationship that is a one-off, but rather about picking up on consistently bad management practices, clearly identifying the behaviours, being able to present this as evidence-based data to the manager with a complete 360 Degree Feedback report, and agreeing a plan to action to improve. After all, the manager is responsible for the success of her or his team, so it's worth the effort to make sure that that manager is not holding the team back.