Self-Assessment versus Feedback

There are times when it is helpful to allow employees to analyze or assess their own performance versus providing them with your own feedback or perspective. This allows the person to think about what they did—what worked and what didn’t. As the leader/manager, you can certainly add to the conversation; however, the starting point is to take more of a coaching role and allow the employee to comment on the situation.

It involves three simple steps outlined below. Choose which questions best fit the situation and adapt to meet your needs.

1. Ask about what went well.

(Actively listen—paraphrase for understanding)

• What went well?
• What worked?
• What stood out as particularly effective?
• What strengths did you bring to the project/assignment/meeting?
• What did you do that you liked?

2. Ask about his/her improvement needs.

(Actively listen—paraphrase for understanding)

• What didn’t work/didn’t go well?
• Where were the problem areas?
• What would you do differently if you had it to do over?
• What would you like to do better next time?
• Anything you’d improve?
• What did you learn?

3. Plan.

• What next steps are appropriate?
• What resources are necessary?
• What’s the timetable?
• In what ways can I support you as you move forward?

When using this approach, the employee often identifies their own development opportunities versus having them pointed out by you, the manager. This increases overall buy-in and commitment to change. If something was overlooked (either something that went well or something that needs to improve), you can certainly build on the conversation and add your own perspective.

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