What a tool!

I was flipping through the channels recently and came across a infomercial that caught my attention.  It wasn't the product that put a jack move on my remote but a testimony.  A testimony from a man whose  job title was...Professional Tool Evaluator.  To a mature person this means nothing.  To an immature person it means glancing around an empty room looking for someone to giggle  with like a school girl.  Oh Infomercials... [youtube C2PVYMBQMfw]

Let's be honest with one another, when you hear the words "personal evaluation" what thoughts and emotions come up?  Failure?  Incompetencies? Pressure? Anxiety? Fear?

Now, imagine if the intent of the evaluation was feedback on what you do really well and how you add value to the organization?  If you knew that was coming, would you still have the same feelings?   Of course not, which means we need to learn how to better evaluate our people.  A lot of managers see personal evaluation as an opportunity to criticize.  And not just a small critique here and there. Oh no, they have  a long list of wrongs that has been stockpiled over time for this said evaluation meeting.

Leaders, on the other hand, see scheduled evaluation as an opportunity to build people up.  Peter Drucker's One Minute Manager is an incredible resource on how to reprimand people. Drucker has a great chapter on reprimand, his main point being that it shouldn't last longer than a minute!  If leaders were one minute reprimanders than evaluations wouldn't be such a drama.

Too many leaders make the mistake of seeing themselves as a "professional tool evaluator",  someone who is constantly trying to fix people or get rid of the "tools".  More often than not the person isn't the problem but the process is.  Don't evaluate people without evaluating your process as well.  Do you spend more time evaluating your team's strengths or weaknesses?  A weakness will always be a weakness compared to a strength (thank you, andy stanley.)  If your people are spending all of their time trying to improve on their weaknesses instead of working out of their strengths, you will never help them reach their potential...which means neither will your organization.

What has caused you to grow most from an evaluation?