Performance appraisals have the unique power to help employees throughout the company build their self-awareness, whether they’re being evaluated or doing the evaluating. The better that employees truly understand themselves, the better they’ll be able to learn, grow, and perform on the job. If their self-insights are marginal, their work is likely to be marginal, too.
Generating insights for your employees
A well-crafted performance appraisal is one of the most powerful tools for increasing your employees’ self-awareness. With greater understanding of their strengths and weaknesses on the job, it’s far easier for them to be more focused, goal-oriented, and productive.
An effective way to teach your employees is to focus on them as individuals, instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach to education. As an educational process, performance appraisal is 100 percent focused on your employees as unique individuals.
The feedback that your employees receive during a performance appraisal has extra credibility for one main reason: You’re providing it. Employees are more likely to believe and internalize your comments because you’ve observed and analyzed their performance, and because you’re one of the most important people in their lives. If you’re unsure about this, just ask them.
Generating awareness for yourself
As a manager in the performance appraisal process, you have three key opportunities to build your own self-awareness. (You didn’t think your employees were the only ones who had something to learn, did you?)
The feedback that you receive from your own manager can be a major help in strengthening your self-awareness, just as your comments do for your employees.
If you opt to complete a self-evaluation form, you, too, are afforded the opportunities for self-awareness that accompany this step in the process.
If your company uses a 360-degree feedback program, your peers, employees, and others in the workplace can enhance your self-awareness on a wide range of workplace behaviors, including planning, organizing, communicating, delegating, and leading.
With a greater understanding of how you’re perceived in these areas (and in many others that are part of managerial performance), you, too, now have the advantage of looking at yourself in many mirrors. You can truly see yourself as others see you, and that is one of the premier building blocks for self-awareness.