Recently I had the pleasure of going on a fishing trip on Lake Michigan with three of my sons. This was our first such fishing charter, and it turned out to be a great experience all around.
Clearly, one of the most common words on a shipping boat is “catch,” as in the fish that is brought in during the trip. When used in the workplace, the term can be used to reference a great new resource, such as a new hire or tool that has the potential of adding value to the workforce and its efforts. Proactive managers and employers can also catch their workers doing something right and praise such conduct as a form of reinforcement.
On the negative side, the term “catch” can refer to the way in which employees are oftentimes evaluated, as in being caught off-guard with critiques (or worse) that stem from unstated or unclear expectations. For many leaders, this can come from multiple sources and stakeholders, each of which has its own conception of what needs to be done and how the job is actually being fulfilled.
How can leaders ensure the formation of a proper set of expectations — and one that focuses them on a clear set of goals and ensures a fair assessment of their work?
First, leaders need to be clear on who is doing the assessing. This may be a direct supervisor, the board of directors, a board subcommittee or another party. Whoever it is, make sure to meet with them early on to discuss the evaluation process.
In that discussion, a number of areas need to be covered. These include: frequency of assessment, the assessment tool and whether there will be a particular set of priorities that will take precedence and carry disproportionate value.
Naturally, frequent feedback is preferable. This gives leaders the opportunity to make adjustments as needed, well before things go sideways in a serious way. It also allows for modifications of goals if that is required. While each situation may dictate its own feedback frequency, there is no question that a once-annual review is not sufficient, especially for millennial workers who expect regular feedback
The tool makes all the difference: