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Honestly Speaking

by Dennis Vicars
January/February 2014
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Why do we have such difficulty in being honest with our employees? Why are annual performance evaluations usually an exercise of compromise as opposed to an honest effort toward ­individual performance improvement? Recent research by Gallup indicates that 78% of employees polled felt that ­annual evaluations did nothing to help them improve or grow as individuals; 25% of this same group felt that annual reviews were in effect “a worthless waste of time.”

If these statistics are true, and I have no doubt that they are, why do we even bother doing them? What’s the real issue here? I think there are numerous areas we as leaders, managers, directors, or ‘bosses’ need to examine.

Honesty is a good place to start. It seems that most people have a problem delivering or receiving a true accounting of performance. Managers too often view evaluations as negative, potentially confrontational, and ultimately a compromise because “we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.” In effect, we have been dishonest and lacked the courage that might improve performance, and, at a minimum, create mutual respect between professionals where trust can be fostered. In 2002, the Corporate Leadership Council surveyed 19,000 employees in 34 companies about the effectiveness of ...

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