Clear is Kind: How Being Straightforward in Performance Reviews Make You a Better Manager

As the calendar rolls around to that time of year again, it’s easy to feel a sense of impending doom (okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic) or at least some apprehension about performance review season. You’re not alone; it’s a time that can be fraught with tension and a desire to be kind to your team members. After all, you’ve worked closely together, weathered the storms, and you want to be supportive.

But here’s a nugget of wisdom to hold close to your heart and put into action: 

“Clear is kind.”

You see, when we’re trying to be gentle in delivering feedback, we often end up being vague, and that’s not helpful for anyone. As a successful leader, it’s essential to strike a balance between kindness and clarity.

When you’re clear about your expectations and the areas where improvement is needed, you’re helping your team members understand what they need to do to succeed. And that is one of the kindest things you can do as a manager. It’s effective management at its best.

Here’s how to embrace the “Clear is Kind” philosophy in performance reviews:

Be Specific

General comments like “You need to improve” aren’t helpful. Be specific about what needs improvement. Is it communication skills? Time management? Team collaboration? Spell it out.

Offer Constructive Feedback

Don’t just point out areas for improvement; offer suggestions on how to get better. Share resources, tools, or training opportunities that can help your team member succeed.

Highlight Achievements & Celebrate Progress

Don’t forget to acknowledge the positive aspects of their performance. Celebrate achievements and contributions to the team. It’s a morale booster and motivates them to keep pushing forward. As time goes on and you see improvements in your team member’s performance, celebrate their progress. 

Set Goals Together

Sit down and discuss future goals and objectives. Make sure they are clear, measurable, and attainable. This provides direction and a sense of purpose moving forward.

Follow Up & Create a Safe Space for Dialogue

Don’t let the performance review be a one-and-done thing. Schedule follow-up meetings to check on progress, offer support, and address any issues that arise. Also, encourage your team member to share their thoughts, concerns, and aspirations. Let them know you’re there to support them in their professional growth.

Avoid Sugarcoating

Remember, being kind doesn’t mean sugarcoating. It’s okay to deliver tough feedback as long as it’s constructive and helps your team member grow. Be honest, but deliver it with empathy and respect.

Acknowledge Your Role

As a manager, it’s essential to recognize your role in your team member’s performance. How can you support them better? Are there resources or tools they need? Make sure you’re doing your part to help them succeed.

Remember, effective management is about building relationships, fostering growth, and helping your team succeed. Being clear in your feedback, setting specific goals, and offering support are all part of the equation.

So, as you gear up for performance review season, remember that being clear is kind. It’s a simple philosophy, but it’s one that can make a world of difference in your role as a manager. And who knows, you might just find that performance reviews become a little less daunting and a lot more productive.

Leave a Comment