Have you ever sat through an annual performance review and had that awkward feeling?
Like your boss was not giving you true feedback?
Like they were just going through the motions?
Did it seem…Fake? Forced? Phony?
Maybe it’s just me, but when I worked in corporate America, I couldn’t stand the annual performance review process.
Once a year, I would get feedback from my boss.
The company had a policy – so he wrote up a review, we sat down together, and he checked the box.
The feedback certainly wasn’t timely but it also wasn’t very honest.
What do I mean by that?
The feedback wasn’t real. It wasn’t raw. It wasn’t a true reflection of what my boss thought of my performance.
Instead, it was a carefully worded document designed to keep my boss and the company out of trouble. It was almost like a legal document that stated that we met, we reviewed my performance over the past year, and it was generally good. Simple and safe…and irrelevant.
A safe, bland review to check the box and move one.
Contrast this with life in a small company.
I recently had D’Shawn Russell on my podcast. She is the founder and owner of Southern Elegance Candle Company.
When I asked her about leadership in a small, start-up company, she said something that stood out.
She said she practiced radical transparency.
When I asked what it was, she was very clear. She said, “I tell my people exactly what I think of their performance on a daily basis…If they suck, I tell them and if they can’t turn it around, they know I’ll fire them.”I tell my people exactly what I think of their performance on a daily basis Click To Tweet
She added, “But if they’re doing good, I tell them that as well.”
In the bland corporate world of pale pastels, her comments stood out as bold colors.
I’ll admit, at first I was taken aback. I thought she was being a little too transparent with her employees but then I thought about this simple rule:
Feedback should be timely and relevant.Feedback should be timely and relevant. Click To Tweet
I have no doubt that her employees always know exactly where they stand at any time. Radical transparency means honest and timely feedback. I know a lot of good employees who would prefer to get honest and timely feedback instead of the bland corporate review.
So think about the feedback you are providing employees.
Is it real? Is it timely? And is it honest?
Or are you just checking a box once a year?
Try practicing radical transparency and let me know how it goes.
Listen to my entire interview with D’Shawn here. It’s a powerful story on what it takes to lead a startup business.
For more stories like this, get my Amazon bestselling leadership book, I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following. Signed copies are available here.