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Proven Strategies for Effective Communication During Performance Review

Know your people and communicate with them in their personal communication style. If you, as a leader, understand and recognize the style that fits each of your employees the more effective you will be not only in performance evaluation but also in delegating responsibilities.

The basic styles include:

Analyzer Type: This type needs data, facts and all details to make a decision. Your chance for effective discussion is better if you have logical information, no matter how detailed, that helps them make and act on decisions

Direct Type: This is the don?t-beat-around-the-bush type. Get to the point. Be straight forward with them if you want action on whatever you talk about.

Relater Type: This is the relationship-oriented type. Talk about their family and friends and let them learn something about yours. Your interest in their relationships helps create a bond that becomes important for effective communication on business matters.

Enthusiastic Type: New ideas and exciting challenges are what gets this type moving. The big picture, not the details, is all they need to get started.

Top strategies on how to add value to a performance evaluation:

1. Learn to ask questions instead of making statements. For example, ask "How is the Peter Makonde family case report coming along?" instead of stating, "Remember the Peter Makonde family case report is due next week."

2. Learn to add "oil" to your conversation. Show you are listening by active participation with positive phrases such as, "Oh, my, how did that happen? or "Yes, I understand." This also helps you stay focused on the issue being discussed.

3. Keep eye contact--unless dealing with an employee from cultures that consider direct-eye contact with leaders/elders as a sign of rudeness.

4. Meet in a room with no disruptions. A clean desk will keep you from seeing other things that need to be done and forcing you to rush the meeting.

5. Hold your thought. Take some time before you speak after an employee is done speaking. Otherwise speaking immediately after an employee is done speaking may suggest you were not listening.

Top 6 performance review practices with long-term dividends:

1. Separate finances from performance. It?s not unusual for a performance review to turn into salary negotiation, but this shouldn?t happen. Arrange for two different meetings: one to review performance and set goals, and the other one to discuss bonuses and raises.

2. Focus on individual strengths and weaknesses. Avoid the game of comparing employees with your top performers.

3. Steer away from personality during evaluations, that is, unless it interferes with work.

4. Space performance reviews. The advise is to schedule one review per day. This will allow you to cover all the bases, focus on future goals and adequately respond to questions that may arise during the review.

5. Know you are not the standard. When you tell an employee, "when I used to be in your position?," the effect will be the same as comparing his performance with your top performers.

6. Connect the past with the future. Reviews without preview may make some employees make the past their residency. A substantial amount of performance review time should address the direction of the organization in the future; how the employee can apply past experience in future projects and the employees goals as well as yours.

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