Helping you mobilise your inner resources to achieve your dreams

Appraisals: to motivate or demotivate? That is the question…

Judging by the impact reported by many, you’d think the purpose of an appraisal was a combination of the following:

  • To worsen the relationship between the manager and the team member
  • To encourage the team member to get active on LinkedIn, spruce up their C.V. and send it off to several recruitment agencies
  • To demotivate and divert effort away from delivering results

Why do some leaders get it so wrong….   bell curve

…when they could be using appraisals to improve relationships, results and engagement?  There’s one simple reason why.  Consider the average person’s performance at work.  Most of us, for most of the time, follow an approximation of a typical bell-shaped distribution curve, in terms of our work performance.


Most of the time we all deliver

areas of roleIn other words, for the majority of our role, for the majority of the time, we are doing a good job, i.e. delivering the results expected.  Representing a far smaller proportion of our role is our delivery of great results: delivering even better results than the standard agreed.  And, during a similarly small percentage of our time at work, for whatever reason, we tend not to deliver the results expected.

So, what tends to be the focus of an appraisal discussion?

appraisal time spentSadly, during many appraisal meetings, most of the attention is devoted to the area of underperformance – which is a great pity indeed.  Although this, usually, is the smallest proportion of our role, it gets the most time and focus; why spend so much time on that, and so little on the area that’s going to make the most difference to results? Why ignore the largest proportion of our role, where achieving relatively small increments would make the shift from delivering good results to great results?  Not to mention greater engagement and motivation.

I’m not suggesting areas of underperformance should be ignored – far from it, I’m simply suggesting the time during the discussion should be balanced to reflect the typical bell-shaped distribution curve of our work performance.

Speaking of ‘bells’ – has this post rung any for you?

Management coaching helps leaders and managers get the best from their team; for more information, contact me on 01302 220221.

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