A Better Question In a Performance Review
Do you want to know how your team really feels about their job? Your church? Or perhaps even how they feel about you as a supervisor?
Knowing how your team “really” feels is critical to for your supervision, their development, and the success of your team (church).
If you want to know the right answers, you have to ask the right questions. Even in a good performance management system, the important questions can get lost among all the other small ones. How your team members really feel is what I’ll refer to as the last 2% (that term is not unique to me and I’ve blogged previously on the “last 2%” concept). The last 2% is what you want to make sure you communicate (or have communicated to you) in your staff reviews.
I’ve found one question gets me the most helpful and transparent information from those I lead. It’s simple, has two-parts, and has begun some very informative conversations in review meetings I’ve had with staff (sometimes in writing, other times verbally):
- What is it I’m doing as your supervisor that’s helping you complete the goals we’ve set for you and in your day-to-day job activities?
- What is it I’m doing as your supervisor that’s hindering you from reaching all your goals and can get in the way of you doing day-to-day job activities?
3 Rules of Engagement when asking this question:
- Listen to their feedback. Don’t defend.
- Ask clarifying questions.
In any scenario where you’re trying to elicit a response, frame your questions in such way that assumes the person has feedback. It’s the difference between:
“What feedback do you have for me?” and, “Do you have any feedback for me?”
If you assume there‘s feedback, you’re more likely to get feedback.
- Be trustworthy.
Even if you ask the right question and they provide you honest (last 2%) feedback, it’s only good for one try – unless you listen to their feedback and affect change based on it (or at least explain why you may not). You can’t hold their input over them (especially if it’s negative).
If you listen and don’t punish people for their feedback, they’ll be more likely to give it to you in the future.
I encourage you to try this out at your next review meeting. I believe you’ll be a better supervisor because of it.
P.S. I believe the two-part question fits nicely into a performance management system with formal reviews, but it can still work in informal settings with those you lead.