Jeff does not enjoy performance appraisals. His lack of enthusiasm for the task stems not from any reluctance on his part to scrutinize and identify strong and weak places in his staff’s performance nor does it arise from apprehension over the need to make corrections if needed. Indeed, Jeff’s lack of enjoyment comes from his opinion that most people suffer at least some delusion as regards their performance on the job. In the previous chapter I recounted Phil’s incapacity to see how others perceived him. Jeff considers that capacity for self-deceit, sometimes to the point of delusion, to be nearly universal. So do I.
Jeff set an appointment with a young man we’ll call Louis who was serving as an intern during his summer break from classes at college. He was and is a very pleasant young man. He’s gentle-spirited, easy-going, and willing to work hard, but he’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Being young and inexperienced Jeff did not expect him to understand the scope of the organization or the many tasks that had to be performed. Jeff’s typical approach to performance appraisals is to ask the worker to first appraise his own performance because…
A person’s ability to discern and accept his own zones of competence and pockets of incompetence is key to successful personal growth and improvement.
Associates and workers with the capacity for accurate, unenhanced self-assessment are the safest and most reliable building blocks in your organization. When you ask someone, “Can you do this?” you have to be confident their answer is based on your powers of evaluation and their capacity for reliable self-assessment. Why? Because you are committed to extending your reach, multiplying your effectiveness, dividing your work, and quickening your pace and you must achieve those objectives through other people.
A responsible person is one who is response-able.
Response-able associates can both understand just what it is you are asking of them and know whether it is within their capacity to meet your expectations. A response-able worker has the capacity to return the assignment to you completed on time, brought in within budget, and finished at the level of refinement required by the job criteria. This means there are two factors that must be measured.
Competence – the expertise, skills, talent, and capacity necessary to fulfill the objectives of the assignment.
Confidence – the motivation, commitment, and capacity to work independently, even at a minimal skill level.
Jeff had experienced some challenges in work assignments given to Louis. Jeff had found Louis needed almost constant supervision and tasks assigned to him had to be broken down in small incremental actions if he was ever to get through them. As the performance appraisal interview progressed, Jeff asked Louis to rate himself on the scale found in figure 2. How did he rate himself?
Find out in the next post Monday. Thanks for dialing in.