Performance Reviews Can Be A Positive Experience!

Recently I was involved in some performance evaluations.  The positive experiences for all who were engaged in the process caused me to reflect on the many, good, experiences that I participated in during my 32 year career at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale.

It has been my belief and management philosophy, since my earliest days of supervisory duties, in 1979, that evaluations or performance reviews do not have to be a negative experience…but rather they should be not only a positive experience…but a learning experience for all involved.


Evaluations, in their purest form, are an instrument of discovery for both the supervisor and the person being reviewed.

Communication is a two way street.  The annual meeting is a golden time to understand each other better!

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Praise in public and proclaim the strengths of members of your staff…on the mountain top!  Constructively criticize in private and never disclose the suggestions for constructive change with anyone who is not directly involved and has the need to know.

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It is natural for each of us to rise to our best efforts if we receive positive input and recognition for jobs that are well done and a laser like focus on our strengths!

Needs for improvement can be and are caused by a plethora of conditions.  Perhaps a person is not meeting expectations because those expectations have never been fully explained to the employee.

Often I have seen members of our staff who fail to produce quality work because they have not been trained properly or fully.  A person may not have the proper tools or equipment or facilities to perform their job expectations to their fullest extent.

As a manager or administrator, you may have supervisors or managers who are under your oversight…who are not treating their staffs properly.  Abusive of lackadaisical leadership produces a pandora’s box of problems with down line staff.

Many times when I witnessed a crew of full time staff who were of low morale and poor attitude and under-performance…I need look no further than their crew leader or their manager!

Also, a high performer and a person who is beloved by their colleagues and their direct reports and their leaders…still must be held responsible to a higher authority.  I often used the example, at SIUC, that I was responsible to the Director of Plant and Service Operations, and the Director of PSO was responsible to the Vice Chancellor of Administration, and the Vice Chancellor was responsible to the Chancellor, and the Chancellor was responsible to the President of Southern Illinois University, and the President was responsible to the, unpaid, Board of Trustees of the University.

The best meetings that I have had the opportunity to be a part of were with my colleagues where there was a performance problem or issues that we worked on together and we, both, owned the success of the solution!

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A member of my immediate staff told MJ…many years ago…that she had been in meetings with me where she thought, after she had left the meeting…’I just got my ass chewed out…and did not realize it!’




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