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Listen first, feedback second

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

To evaluate a staffer’s performance, start by having the employee answer three questions: What have you accomplished lately?, What are your strengths and weaknesses? and What do you want to do in the next year?

“By starting with a dialogue where the manager talks only 10 percent of the time (to ask questions) and the employee talks the other 90 percent, you can learn so much,” says Gary Markle, founder of Energage, a consulting firm in Atlanta. “As your employee opens up, you have the basis for stronger performance evaluation.”

Most managers talk too much. They judge the employee’s performance, cite lots of examples and dictate how the individual needs to change.

While that’s informative, it doesn’t facilitate mutual understanding. Employees feel like pawns taking orders rather than participants in their own professional growth.

It’s better to withhold your feedback until you’ve let the employee hold court. Workers will be more receptive to your input because they feel heard. And by listening to their self-critique, you gain a better sense of how you can appeal to them on their terms.

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