Is it that time of year again for you? Time to write a performance report! Everybody loves performance reports, whether you’re giving them or receiving them…ok, nobody really likes them. They’re kind of a pain. Often that’s because we make them more difficult than they need to be. Have you made the mistake of waiting until the last minute, then sitting down to try and remember some things that happened over the last six to twelve months? There’s no way you’re going to remember everything and so you complete the requirement, but the performance report doesn’t have a lot of value.
There’s an easier way. Start early. Keep track of what your workers are doing. Keep little notes. I don’t mean just “So and so was late for work,” or “They didn’t finish the project on time” You may want to remember those things; but it’s just as important to remember the times team members did an excellent job or finished a little early. Do you recall that time they were able to complete a project when they were really under the gun, or when they took the initiative to develop a new skill?
You may be familiar with the law of recency. It simply says that we tend to remember the most recent events but are less likely to remember events that occurred in the past. I have another law that applies. It’s the law of “oh darn.” (Actually I call it something a little different, but this is a family newsletter) This law simply states that we tend to remember the bad things. So, when writing a performance report, you most likely will remember what someone did over the last 30 days or so and anything they did that seemed negative.
But, if you keep track of their accomplishments along the way the performance report is much easier because all the information is already there, you just have to write it out. That performance report now becomes something worthwhile and more valuable. You can sit down with your team members and actually discuss things intelligently. You’ll be able to point out the great things they’ve done and they’ll appreciate that you remembered.
Performance reports don’t have to be a terrible chore. They can be a fairly easy, and certainly valuable, part of your leadership responsibilities. Think about this. Don’t you wish your boss did it that way?