Below are different approaches for receiving feedback from the manager during the review session. Evaluate for yourself which one is the right way.
Let us take a close look at three youngsters who work for a multinational corporation (MNC). The MNC has presence across the globe including India. They consider January to December as a performance year and financial year also. Accordingly, they conduct the individual performance assessments during the month of January for the previous year that ended in December.
As per the process, for the year of 2013, the performance reviews were conducted in January 2014 and all the three youngsters that we are discussing here received feedback on their performance. For one of them, this was their first review ever in her career while the other two had experienced it once before.
She joined the company about ten months ago from campus. After a 45-day training, she was given a proper role and specific goals. Sara’s manager had a review session, which was her first formal review. Her manager went through each goal, asked her what she did well and what she missed. She was compelled to reflect and admit the mistakes that she committed. He asked her what she would like to improve in her performance and what support she wants from him.
While Sara was very tensed up at the beginning of the session, she slowly got into the flow of discussion and felt very comfortable. More so, her manager made the session more of a self-reflection than preachy. When she looked at her own performance objectively, she realized her mistakes and asked for help to improve. Overall, it was a tense but comfortable session for Sara.
He has been working in the company for about twenty months now and this happened to be his second review. The familiarity with the process was surely an advantage for Rohit. He particularly recalled how dumbstruck he was during his first review session last year. He still curses himself for not speaking up during the last year’s performance review, which he believes caused lower salary increment.
When he was preparing for his second review during January 2014, Rohit decided that he should express more and talk out all his problems. Internally, the anxiety started building up as the feedback session was nearing. When he finally went in to meet his manager, Rohit could not execute his plans at all.
Looking at Rohit’s anxiety, his manager made him drink water, talked something about his family and tried to put him at ease. The discussion then went over each goal and how Rohit had fared. Manager was very specific and pointed out the areas where Rohit missed out. He even asked Rohit to reflect and see the reason for drop in performance. Rohit’s anxiety was turning into anger, though he could not say anything on the spot. He simply agreed to all that manager said and walked out of the session.
His colleagues came over and asked curiously about the session. Suddenly Rohit’s anger found an expression and he blurted out how biased the manager was. He even said that these feedback sessions are useless and they are only meant to reduce the increments.
His colleagues remained there as mere spectators.
Raghu was quite cool and was not much worried about the upcoming performance review session. When his buddies enquired how he could maintain such calm, his reply was that his strategy to tackle the manager is ready.
Of course, he did not reveal the strategy to the overzealous colleagues!
From the start of the review session, Raghu took charge of the discussion. He went through each goal and explained to his manager why certain things could not be done due to lack of support from others. He refused to accept any blame onto himself and even suggested to manager that he should have a feedback session with the other poor performing colleagues. Raghu used aggression as the best defense and felt victorious.
Are they doing right?
It is true that every person may not approach feedback session the same way. How do you think the above three youngsters are looking at feedback? Is their approach to performance review right? Place yourself in that situation and think about it! Watch out this space for more discussion on feedback sessions.
HR Mirror, Hans India
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