Can Performance Management Limit Opportunities?

Posted on: January 23, 2012, by :

Can Performance Management Limit Opportunities?

It Depends

Performance management programs too often consist of independent activities that occur in isolation or with varying degrees of correlation (e.g., performance appraisals, workshops, conferences, and other training and development activities).  Performance appraisals, as a component of performance management programs, are generally created and given by supervisors with numerous factors influencing their development.  First and foremost, a supervisor’s training and experience factor into their effectiveness in developing and conducting performance appraisals.  Now consider how often consistency and documented, validated objective factors from multiple perspectives, factor into performance appraisals as part of a comprehensive professional development program directly correlating to the organization’s goals and strategic plan.

Performance appraisals are often designed to improve weaknesses using developmental goals rather than building upon strengths.  Progressively, performance appraisals can improve weaknesses while simultaneously exploiting and developing strengths.  When performance appraisals are conducted appropriately— performance appraisals can be used for aligning and guiding performance with organizational goals while recognizing good performance and motivating employees.

Remember that a performance appraisal is not a professional development program.  A performance appraisal is one tool within a performance management program.  Too often organizations rely on performance appraisals in isolation.  This wastes opportunities to capture revenue and leaves talent untapped.

For various reasons, it’s important to proactively manage your individual professional development.  Your performance appraisal provides you with an opportunity to better understand how your performance compares to the expectations that have been set for you.  It also helps you recognize your strengths and areas for improvement that promote the alignment of your efforts with the organization’s expectations.  Depending upon your organization, the performance appraisal meeting could be an appropriate time for you to express an interest in opportunities for growth.

Recognize the value in understanding your strengths and weaknesses independent of your work environment.  Yes, consider and explore the feedback provided by your management – also consider your performance and the feedback you receive from the other areas in which you engage professionally.  Do you volunteer in your community, serve on a board, coach a team or participate in other activities?  These activities most likely influence your professional performance.  Now consider the extent to which these abilities are used within your work environment.

Are you performing at maximum capacity, missing opportunities, or simply letting the “system” influence your performance and perhaps ultimately, your career?  You can and should proactively participate in your performance management.

Yes, performance management programs can limit development and opportunities but this needn’t be your experience.  By becoming an active participant in your professional development you position yourself for improved performance and increasing levels of success.

Ten Minute Challenge

Determine if you are actively managing your performance.  Ask yourself:

  • Are you working toward fulfilling self-set professional development goals?
  • Can you describe measurable action that you’ve taken to improve your performance within the past month?
  • Can you describe measurable action that you’ve taken leverage your strengths within the past month?
  • Can you relate your performance to the organization’s sustainability within the marketplace?


Photo by Thomas Hawk, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

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