Managers also need appraisals

August 03, 1992|By Gerald Graham | Gerald Graham,Knight-Ridder News Service

"I don't know why we have so much trouble getting our managers to do performance appraisals on their people," lamented the president of a midsized company.

However, when questioned, the president acknowledged that he did not do appraisals on his immediate subordinates. "Oh, I don't think they need me to do performance appraisals on them," he said, defensively. However, the subordinates responded unanimously that they wanted regular feedback on their performance.

Professors Clinton Longenecker and Dennis Gioia, in a recent study published in Executive, reported that most organizations treat performance appraisals as an employee or supervisor phenomenon.

Yet, upper-level executives overwhelmingly state that they want to know how well they are doing their jobs.

The professors make the following suggestions for implementing executive performance appraisals:

* Be systematic. Executive appraisals are more effective when they are structured and occur regularly. Unless the approach is formal, managers do not take the appraisals seriously.

* Include performance planning. Identify what you expect. For instance, discuss the executive's mission, primary responsibilities, division goals and management style.

* Appraisal systems should report data throughout the year. Consider using periodic financial reports, checking regularly with clients or other departments and regular subordinate appraisals.

* Discuss process. Results-based feedback is necessary, but feedback on an executive's processes helps the manager grow. Executives eagerly receive comments on leadership style, communication activities, team building, conflict resolution and other intangibles.

* Be specific. Report specific data on outcomes and provide tangible examples of process feedback.

Performance reviews of executives are as important as those for employees, perhaps even more important.

Management quiz

Check all the following that apply. In our organization, executive appraisals:

* Occur on a regular basis.

* Are structured and systematic.

* Include feedback on specific outcomes.

* Include feedback on management process.

* Clarify the executive's primary responsibilities.

* Define "successful performance."

* Require self-appraisal by the executive.

* Focus on growth and development.

* Develop a blueprint for the coming year.

* Are well received by the executive.

Seven or more checks suggests an effective executive appraisal process.

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