Most performance appraisals are about the employee being appraised for what they delivered and what they did not.  The employee, often with some trepidation, prepares for this discussion thoroughly, collecting all the performance data they need to show how well they have performed on both the ‘what’ and ‘how’.

This is a 20th century approach to Performance Management (PM) and is based on the belief that management is about control rather than about empowerment and an approach to PM based on a deficit model. Most crucially it ignores the duality in any performance agreement.

Forgotten in this conversation is the performance contribution the manager had/has to make in holding their side of this grand bargain.

The line manager ought to be asking questions of him/herself in the process and preparing for the discussion as carefully as the employee.  They may have to start by thinking through what they could do differently. The following questions might be a start:

  • What is my contribution to the problems we are experiencing?
  • What behaviour do I need to change in order to create the required performance culture?
  • What action can I take to remove the systemic barriers to high performance?
  • How can I be more approachable and make my access easier when there are ‘in the moment’ performance dilemmas?
  • How can I become more open to feedback I may have been ignoring to date?

and so on

Until we reframe the Performance Management process, recognising the duality of the  agreement about performance, we will not be able to truly unlock exceptional performance in business today

written by Meena Thuraisingham, Author, Organisational Psychologist, Director and Principal, TalentInvest and Author, July 2012


Written by Meena Thuraisingham
Director and Principal, Talent Invest

Meena Thuraisingham is a consultant, author, executive coach and thought leader in the area of People and Culture. An organisational psychologist by training, she founded TalentInvest, a niche consulting practice, advising global clients in the UK, Asia and Australia in Capability and Culture. Meena is also a regular speaker internationally on leadership effectiveness and culture change.

Her published books are The Secret Life of Decisions, Careers Unplugged and Derailed!. Get Your Copy Today