Using Employee Reviews to Improve Your Management Style

Joseph Stubblebine
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Everyone has a natural management style, but it's usually only effective part of the time. What works for some employees won't work for others. It's important to stay focused on improving your management skills, and you can use employee reviews to discover areas where your skills may be lacking.

Historically, employee reviews have been a one-way street. Managers sit down with each employee to discuss performance. Employees can ask questions and voice opinions; however, many people consider employee reviews stressful, so they don't share their thoughts. By switching to a 360-degree performance appraisal system, you turn the employee review process into a two-way street; employees provide feedback on managers, and managers use the feedback to improve their management styles.

For a 360-degree performance appraisal process to be affective, you need to ensure employees are comfortable sharing their honest opinions. Consider using an anonymous employee survey or a focus group conducted by an impartial person, like a human resources employee, to gather feedback. This way, it's easier for employees to express any thoughts or concerns they aren't comfortable sharing with you. Regardless of the method you choose, start the process after your employee reviews are complete so that employees aren't worried about how their opinions will affect them.

Before employees are allowed to review managers, the review process and what the information will be used for should be thoroughly explained. The information that you're collecting can be used for rewards and recognition as well as coaching managers, so it's important that each employee takes the process seriously. It's important that employees are honest about both negative and positive attributes and that they include things the like and don't like. Keep in mind that most of your employees have never evaluated someone's performance, so it may take time for them to understand how the process works and what they need to do.

Gathering feedback from employee reviews is the easy part; if you don't follow through, the entire process was pointless. You still have to review all of the comments collected, decide what skills you need to improve, and create an action plan that helps you stay focused on changing any bad habits you may have. When you're reviewing the information gathered from the employee reviews, try not to take any comments personally. Remember, everyone works in different ways, and there's no one right way to manage your team. Don't focus on negative comments individually. Consider all the comments as a whole.

As a manger, your most important job is creating a productive environment that maximizes employee potential. In order to do that, it's important to constantly look for ways to improve your skills. Collecting feedback from employee reviews gives you a different perspective and allows you to work on issues that you didn't realize were there.


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