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Succeed as a Leader With Performance Evaluations

Take a look at the team you are leading. How are they performing?

I am sure you have a rough idea of who is meeting performance expectations, exceeding them, and–sadly–not quite meeting them. But do these team members know how you view their performance? If you only “think” they know, then it is time to start the performance evaluation process.

As leaders, we are obligated to provide professional insight and direction to all members of our team. Whether they are “shining stars” or subpar performers, all employees deserve an opportunity to learn more about their performance strengths and areas for improvement. And when we invest in our team, we also invest in ourselves. This investment will yield tremendous dividends–figuratively and literally.

I know. Your plate is already full of daily tasks. Adding the dreaded PERFORMANCE EVALUATION to your to-do list could seem overwhelming. And you may be uncertain. But if your team is unaware of how well they are performing, they run the risk of underachieving. Why should they go through each workday just to survive when they could actually thrive?

If you are just beginning performance evaluations or looking to enhance your current process, here are a few considerations.

360-Degree Evaluation

“Do I have enough data to back up my evaluation?”

To help you prepare, I encourage you to consider using employee assessments as a way to collect data.  360 degree evaluations from peers, managers, and the evaluee him/herself produce quantitative data that can provide direction when creating goals between a leader and a teammate. Getting manager and peer feedback is informative, and receiving a self-evaluation can be enlightening as well. Cross-referencing leadership, peer, and individual feedback can often identify where some of the biggest performance gaps exist.

Performance Evaluation Approach

“How do I start this conversation?” 

Performance evaluations should include an open and honest conversation with each member of your team. This is an opportunity to share your objective evaluation of his/her performance, invite the team member’s perspective, and then formulate a growth plan that ensures both you and your team member will thrive.

By starting a performance evaluation with openness and positivity, you will be setting a foundation of “give-and-take” communication. As the leader, share your views with supportive data, but give your teammate a chance to process these in order to create his/her response. Perhaps surprisingly, you will find that subpar performers do not realize that they are failing to meet expectations. Your openness and honesty will help them adjust in order to meet the goals that you and your organization have set.

Evaluation Anxiety

“What if it doesn’t go well?”

A performance evaluation meeting with your “shining star” teammate can be a simple task–good news and praise are easy to convey. Providing constructive feedback that some could consider to be negative? That is not so easy.

Quite often it is fear of the evaluee’s response that leads to the greatest apprehension for performance evaluators; most people do not enjoy conflict. Face-to-face verbal communication can be a scary thought–especially in these days of email, texting, and  “sharing” our feelings via social media (I might have to say something negative. Oh no!) Feelings of apprehension and hesitation must be overcome when you are leading a team.  Hard conversations are never easy, but effective verbal communication and candor is a skill that improves through practice.

Effective Performance Evaluations

A Key to Successful Leadership

Performance evaluations are a great way to strengthen the bond between leader and teammate.  Most employees want to know what they are doing well, what they are not doing well, and how to get better at their roles. During performance evaluation meetings, you have the opportunity to mentor your teammate and learn their vision for meeting long-term goals within the organization. Performance evaluations provide your organization with a way to strengthen your team and continue to invest in your human capital.


To enhance professional growth, performance, and morale among your team members, consider implementing a performance evaluation process. If you would like to learn more about ExactHire’s recommended assessment options, contact us today.