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Ujima Donalson

A Note from Ujima Donalson,
POD Director

Performance reviews sneak up on many of us each year, and often we end up more focused on meeting deadlines than making the most of the process. As a consequence, we miss out on opportunities to truly engage with our employees. The good news is that, for those of us who complete summertime reviews, it’s not too late to plant the seeds for a fruitful process.

In my view, the performance review session I have with each employee should be a dialogue about their work, ideas, needs, and aspirations. When such rich exchanges happen, I love the surprises that come with it—learning something new about an employee’s hidden strengths, gaining insight into what excites and motivates another, or, together, generating a groundbreaking solution to a stubborn problem. Read more

Engaging Your Employees

Lynn D. Hagerman, MPH, CHIC; Lynn Hagerman Associates, LLC

Leaders intuitively know that when teams and employees are fully engaged, things seem to flow more smoothly, the work feels lighter, and outcomes are better. Employee engagement can make the difference between a ho-hum environment with good-enough results and a working environment that truly excels.

Why Engagement is Essential

As leaders, we want a high level of engagement at all times but it becomes truly essential at times of change. When employees are genuinely involved in creating or contributing to new initiatives, they become more committed to positive outcomes and finding ways to meet stretch goals. They’re more creative and invested in problem-solving. They’re also more successful, and then, so is the organization. Read more

"Engaged employees put their wholehearted selves behind what needs to be done." ~ Richard Axelrod

Opportunity Knocking: Annual Performance Reviews

Susan Templeton, Training and Organization Development Consultant

All too often annual performance reviews are an exercise in futility—a chore we complete because we have to; paperwork that gets filed away, never to be seen again. Some managers and employees look forward to the process as if it’s dental surgery while others are entirely apathetic. I, on the other hand, am sort of a performance review geek; I anticipate and actually enjoy this yearly ritual. The way I see it, when else does opportunity knock so clearly, even being so considerate as to let you know it’s on the way? I encourage managers and employees alike to seize this golden opportunity for themselves and their teams. Read more

“In our offices and our classrooms we have way too much compliance and way too little engagement. The former might get you through the day, but only the latter will get you through the night.”
~ Daniel H. Pink

Ask an Expert: Self-Evaluations

Heidi Barta, Organizational Development Administrator, UW Information Technology

Why should I ask my employees to complete self-evaluations?
Annual performance evaluations shouldn’t just be about employees sitting down and listening to their boss talk about their failures and successes. Instead, the experience should be an opportunity for your employees to engage in conversation with you about the work they’re most proud of, the challenges they’ve faced, and the goals they’ve set for the coming year. Read more

“If you size up situations by first asking yourself what’s wrong...you will nearly always find something that is wrong or could go wrong...and your perceptions of the world around you will be heavy in deficiencies and problems.”
~ Kenneth W. Thomas

Leadership by the Book

To complement this issue’s themes of employee engagement and performance reviews, we recommend the following books:

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink (2011)

This engaging book examines the differences between decades of research on motivation and common business practices. The author asserts that the best way to motivate people is not through monetary rewards. He looks at research and reveals surprising real-world examples—such as the failure of Microsoft Encarta versus the success of Wikipedia—to show the keys that unlock the very human needs that drive us and inspire success and satisfaction. Read more

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”
~ Roslyn Carter

Professional & Organizational Development, Box 359487, Seattle, WA 98105
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