On Being a Higher Performer

This one is straight from James Clear‘s email I received last week.

When doing performance reviews (let’s accept for a minute they are a good thing and well executed), staff often ask how they can achieve higher than the average (aka, doing the job).

I have come across a few managers who aren’t prepared to have this conversation. My conclusion is managers are afraid staff will seek ways to achieve what they have said and will be forced to give higher ratings. That’s just … weird!

I think James sums up the higher scales nicely: (italics are my comments):

The 3 Levels of Employees:

Level 1 — You do what you are asked to do. (This is “doing your job.”)

Level 2 — Level 1 + You think ahead and solve problems before they happen. (I don’t think this applies to the immediate job. That would be considered continuous improvement or identifying something that needs to be fixed to do the job properly.)

Level 3 — Level 2 + You proactively look for areas of opportunity and growth in the business, and figure out how to tap into them. (This is organisational or department-wide. Maybe seeing a significant risk to the business and developing a solution.)

If a company is going to have rating scales, companies (i.e. managers) need to be able to have a conversation about the scales and how to achieve them.

Note 1: For the record, if you do conduct Performance Reviews, they really should be just regular conversations summarising what both parties already know.

Note 2: I am trying to improve my writing and was taught (eons ago) that if you have the word “that” near the beginning of a sentence, you can actually delete everything up to and including the “that” and the sentence will still make perfect sense, and likely be more clear.

Here is paragraph 3 (above) in it’s original state:

What really mystifies me is that I have come across few managers who are even prepared to have this conversation. My conclusion is they are afraid staff will then go seeking to achieve exactly what they have said and then they will be forced to give higher ratings.

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