Journey into leadership: Performance appraisals

New leaderThis post is part of a series that follows A.M. Starkin, a young manager taking his first major steps into leadership. Starkin writes here to share his experiences and to get input from others, so please share with him your thoughts and ideas.

Two weeks ago I asked this: Should I keep believing in my unpopular deputy? Will I be able to sell anything? Never tried. And will my operations manager finally begin taking initiative?

With regards to the first there were quite a lot of comments in response, and I think once I made it clear how reliable the words about my deputy’s cheating were, people agreed with me that I should stay on the track of coaching her instead of firing her.

Today was the day were we did the yearly performance appraisal – through a rigid and elaborate procedure. She had clearly prepared an efficient and versatile defense, bringing papers to prove this and that. I began by telling her in some detail what a great person I find her to be and that I thought she could go far with her skill set if she developed this and that trait.

I think I managed to keep her listening – and talking honestly – for two hours, which is not bad! I was expecting to have to fight in order to keep her defenses down, which didn’t seem necessary. There’s a lot to absorb, because among suggested ways to develop, objectives for 2007 and a lot of scores and grades, there was some honest feedback about her disloyalty and her very varying morale.

It ended up a very constructive dialogue, where we agreed on a lot of things she need to work on, and I think it cleared up something for me:
If I plan on doubling activities in here within 12 months, I need her to do much more. And as mentioned I have only 1 day per week to give.
So, I more or less decided – as a result of our discussion -to stop managing emails, financials, etc etc for at least a couple of months, so that I can focus on giving my deputy and our ops manager the skills they need to work on our strategy independently.

I plan on spending my weekly day here:
1) Doing a meeting to get a feel of what is happening and give people a chance to discuss
2) Meeting with each manager (have 3 in total) to go through their action plans and coach them to deliver.
3) Be really happy and an example of how positive it is possible to be in the face of all the hardships we have.

– and that’s it!

Let’s see how that works out.

With regards to my ops manager – he is definitely a firework of initiative and ideas, but he has begun to do what I tell him. Let’s see!

And sales? I won’t have time – but I have the green light to hire a salesperson.


More in a couple of weeks – I simply HAVE to go skiing now!

AM Starkin

Previous posts by A.M. Starkin.

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