Poor Excuses for Avoiding Performance Management


Do you avoid managing the performance of your staff?

You are a busy person. You have budgets to balance, services to provide, and constituents to satisfy. There is always a meeting to attend or a deadline to meet. And while the day-to-day business of providing public services is always calling, there are also employees who are looking to you for direction, guidance, feedback, and recognition. And for some, the management of employee performance is low on the list of priorities.

We have many reasons for avoiding our employee performance management duties. And usually the excuses are pretty weak. Here are four of the most common excuses for not managing employee performance and why they don’t hold water.

Excuse #1: “I’ve been so busy with ___(fill in the blank)___ that I just don’t have time for one-on-one meetings with employees.”

As leaders there will always be competing demands for our attention. There’s always something else to do instead of spending time with staff members. And when you are not giving your staff the guidance and support they require, it may create even more demands on you. Give them your attention and you’ll have more time.

Excuse #2: “Employees know I value their work. I don’t have to tell them every day.”

Employees cannot read your mind. Even if you think they are effective, creative, or whatever word you use to describe their good work, they don’t know it until you say it. Assuming they know what you think is the same as assuming your children know you love them. Thinking it is one thing; saying it makes it real.

Excuse #3: “I’m going to wait and see what happens. Maybe the performance issue will resolve itself.”

Wishful thinking…especially when there is a problem. Employees deserve to know about issues or problems immediately so they have a fair opportunity to address the concern and move on – getting back to work and the priorities at hand. When we hold off giving hard-to-hear feedback, we are only prolonging the agony. Plus, when you delay, you may have a bigger issue on your hands when it finally surfaces.

Excuse #4: “I give feedback during the annual performance review. Isn’t that enough?”

Annual performance reviews have a bad reputation and are often less than effective. Here’s why – managers save up all their feedback and then dump it on the employee at a prescribed time. No wonder everyone dreads them.

As a manager, you have a duty to your organization, to your employees, and to yourself to actively manage the performance of your work group. It’s easy to get distracted by the crisis du jour or to get enthralled by the latest project or challenge. Just remember that your primary job is to help your employees do the best job they can. That’s your job #1 and there’s no excuse for not making it a top priority.

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