Empathize While you Appraise: Two Sides of a Coin
Appraisals are a time that brings in lots of tension, whether from managers or employees. However, the good news, it does not have to be this way! By helping managers develop their empathizing skills, appraisals can be an excellent chance to build a healthy culture and good relationships with employees as we develop competencies and capacities.
1. Listening to future objectives vs. commenting on the last year
Let’s spend less time talking about the past and more time listening to one other. Listening to learn about people’s goals for the new year and beyond.
2. Changing the lens on success or failure and viewing them as experiences to learn from
Instead of viewing matters in black or white, either a success or a failure, regarding issues in terms of lessons learned would be much better. Examining what didn’t go as planned and soliciting opinions on how it may have been handled better.
3. Giving compassionate strength-based feedback
It’s not the content of the feedback that matters, but the tone and manner it’s delivered. My manager’s most helpful feedback was not always glowing words but rather an honest assessment of my strengths and areas for improvement. It showed a great deal of consideration and concern, and I left the room feeling energized and optimistic about the future.
4. As a manager, express your interest in seeing your team member succeed
Give the person a bigger picture of where you envision them in 1, 3, or 5 years. Draw a vision of success for them, emphasizing the career route they can choose. Encourage them to take charge of their fate! Declare your higher-level vision for the team and solicit their suggestions for how to get there. What you hear might surprise you!
5. Allow employees to express themselves
Allow your employees to express their feelings and emotions. Appraisals are tough. Even the most gentle feedback can stir feelings of disappointment in oneself. We do not want to hear that we did not do a good job. Allow employees to express how they feel. Listen genuinely and cease judgment.
Empathy is multi-faceted. Whether it’s showing compassion towards an employee’s disability, helping another during appraisal, or being there and showing support towards hard times, it goes a long way in building cultures and capacities as people supported and appreciated.
1 People matters, 1 Apr 2019, Chetna Manish Malaviya, Empathy makes for great appraisal discussions, Accessed 18 oct 2021, https://www.peoplematters.in/blog/life-at-work/empathy-makes-for-great-appraisal-discussions-21284
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