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Seb Anthony

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Performance Appraisals


I would appreciate if you would share your ideas especially on activities that would emphasize on how to handle diificult employees during the appraisal interview.
James Low

12 Responses

  1. difficult appraisals
    It would be helpful to know in what way they’re difficult and why especially in appraisals? Possibly because they are resistant to feedback? or to 1:1 meetings? Does everyone find them difficult or just the appraiser?

  2. Know what you want

    First and foremost you need to know what you actually want – as compared with what you’ve got.

    This allows you to discuss with the employee what you want from them rather than making vague and unhelpful comments like:

    “You’d better pull your socks up” and
    “This isn’t good enough.”

    Don’t bother with post mortems. Talk about improving the employee’s performance in specific areas, by all means, but running down a list of all the things they’ve “done wrong” is a waste of time on various counts, particularly because whatever you say they can’t go back and change anything.

    There are full details of how to deal constructively with appraisals and disciplinary procedures in this book:

    “Develop Your NLP Skills”, by Andy Bradbury
    ISBN 0-7494-3260-8

    Available from (and at a generous discount, last time I looked).

    Best wishes


  3. advice
    Hello James
    I have been involved in the roll out of several (public sector) new appraisal systems and have written a variety of courses for these clients. I find if you focus on tooling up the ‘appraiser’ with top notch interpersonal communication skills, assertiveness and a full understanding of the true value of contructive criticism they are able to give any type of colleague any type of feedback for positive outcomes all round.

  4. a useful appraisal site?
    I drew together a number of issues about managing appraisals and preparing for them (appraiser and appraisee) at

    You might like to have a look.

    I still think it’s important to clarify what is meant by “difficult employees” and whose definition it is

  5. Re: appraisals
    Hi James

    Have you considered showing how to deal with different types of appraisee via video? It can be more comfortable for people who really don’t like to make the most of roleplays.

    [email protected]

  6. Appraisal Training
    Hi James,

    I recently carried out a number of sessions on Performance Appraisal Training within my organisation. The purpose of this training was to look at the skills required to carry out an effective Appraisal interview and this involved looking at the different personalities that can be encountered and how to deal with them through various methods such as questioning technique etc. If you would care to contact me I can send you some of the exercises that were used and the effectiveness of them.

    Yours in training

    Anne Marie O’Grady

  7. difficult appraisees?
    Hi James,
    Like Anne Marie, I favour focusing on the techniques for dealing with different personalities and behaviours that appraising managers encounter: committed, complacent, compliant and contrary; and the three key approaches – coach, counsel and confront. If you want any materials on these, please feel free to contact me.

    All the best

  8. Is it me?
    As someone who has been labelled a difficult appraisee in the past I would suggest ensuring that appraisers are equpped with reflective toolkits that enable them to ensure they are not the problem.
    This should cover the key parts of the process and be a medium to enable dialogue about how the experience is perceived by both parties. Generating the environment to enable “effective listening” and receiving as well as giving feedback during an appraisal is I have found an underdeveloped aspect of appraisal training.

  9. good preparation is essential, and have difficult conversations
    Hi James

    For me there, should be no surprises in a performance appraisal. It should be a brief confirmation of all the other performance conversations that have happened, and then the rest of the time should be spent looking forward. It’s a little like an MOT if you look after the vehicle during the year there will be no surprises at MOT time.

  10. Ideas and Help
    I was recently working with a client who was managing a sub-manager. This person had seen off three previous managers in the past two years with his attitude and behaviour.

    The advice I gave the manager was

    – be clear with objectives and expectations (make them really SMART)
    – review timescales must be met
    – be tenacious with what has been delivered or not
    – manage the behaviour and factual outputs not the person

    …and have faith in yourself!

    In the next performance review, he said nothing at all for 30 minutes of the review, at which she decided to give him an informal warning for gross misconduct – but needed 24 hours notice to do so.

    The next day he resigned.

    She survived!

    You might find the pages on my website useful for hints about managing performance and difficult people.

    They are at Performance Management and Dealing with Difficult People


    Martin Haworth

  11. 360 feedback is helpful for a business

    Managers need a comprehensive development plan and 360 feedback is the most effective way of producing one, as it uses feedback from multiple people against a broad range of competences.


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