Performance appraisal is one of the most unwelcome steps in organizational life.
Mistakenly, we believe that this judgment comes only from the people who are assessed.
But, based on my consulting experiences, performance appraisal and, particularly the subsequent meeting with those appraised, are activities which are especially unpleasant for the evaluator.
Although it may seem paradoxical, it is the evaluator who feels they are put in a difficult emotional situation: it isn’t easy to say to an employee that he/she doesn’t work as expected, it’s hard to face the employee’s emotional reactions (anger, disappointment or frustration), and often the evaluator worries about generating a conflict, inside the team, that will affect the work in the future.
For these reasons, evaluators often tend to protect themselves from this disagreeable experience by simply avoiding it: “… We don’t need performance appraisal here … My staff knows that I don’t evaluate them. They work better in this way…!”.
Very frequently, managers in charge of the evaluation adopt a more subtle avoidance technique: they empty the evaluation of its real content, transforming it into a simple formality, a sort of organizational ritual: “I give the same evaluation to all the staff members. We don’t even need to do the appraisal interview, because they already know the results!”. Continue reading