This week I participated in three performance reviews with 3 out 5 of my staff. They made for a jam-packed and splendid week of learning.
Before I continue, a little context. Last June, I was asked to supervise my work team. My boss left for another job and left a gap. However, due to budgetary constraints, this would be an unofficial, temporary role. There would be no raise in pay for my new and expanded responsibilities, no new office, and no new fancy job title that I could hang on my old cubicle wall. I was told that “no” was a perfectly acceptable answer.
I said “yes.” My logic was that obtaining supervision experience is a valuable currency. You need it to be promoted to a supervision position and it’s tricky to get unless you actually are a supervisor (a chicken and egg paradox). Also, hiring decision makers are biased towards experience that is recent, and within the organization they work for. This role would give me both, and a chance to demonstrate to my managers that I had the ability to fill the position, for when it was officially offered. I also looked at the role as an awesome learning opportunity to fortify my communication and leadership practice.
Skipping to the present. At the beginning of the week my manager reminded me that I was expected to have a 6-month performance review conversation with each of my staff by the end of the month. I asked him some questions about what these conversations should look like. Afterwards, I reflected on my knowledge of the subject and what effective performance reviews should be.
By the time of my first review of the week, I had a piece of paper decorated with a few post-it, one for each category of the items I wanted to cover (work goals, learning goals, personal goals etc). I also had a few notes sketched down, including a few key questions. However, preparation was in no way thorough.
The conversation went well and I thought I was on the right track with the graphic organizing I had done so I spent the morning developing the following Performance Review Conversation Template. I gave to each of my staff ahead of time and explained what it was, how it worked, and for their permission to give it a try to help structure and organize our upcoming conversations.
I would love it if you could have a look and tell me what you think. It might be tricky to figure out without explanation so I expect some good clarification questions.
I also welcome your improvement suggestions; this piece of “art” is a work in progress as is my overall ability to host these conversations as a supervisor.