A leadership performance review is a powerful tool to evaluate a leader’s performance, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and set clear goals for the future.
Performance reviews provide valuable feedback to help leaders grow and develop their leadership skills. They can also help your organization assess the performance of its leaders and ensure everyone works toward common goals.
This article will explain how to conduct effective leadership performance reviews. Our guide covers everything from setting expectations and collecting feedback to providing constructive criticism and setting SMART goals.
By the end, you’ll understand what it takes to evaluate leadership skills and develop effective leaders within your company.
What is a leadership performance review?
A leadership performance review is a process by which a director or manager evaluates the job performance of leaders on their team. The goal is to provide constructive feedback, identify improvement areas, and set future growth objectives.
This type of review focuses on the individual’s performance in their leadership role rather than their technical skills or job-specific duties. The review considers their ability to motivate and manage direct reports, their communication skills, their ability to delegate effectively, and their overall leadership skills demonstrated in achieving results
The review process typically involves a combination of self-assessment and feedback from colleagues, subordinates, and supervisors. The leader’s supervisor asks them to reflect on their performance and provide examples of successes and challenges. Supervisors can also gather feedback from others, emphasizing specific examples of the person’s leadership style and effectiveness.
Personal goals are often set during the leadership performance review to provide a road map for improvement. These objectives might be related to specific leadership skills or behaviors, such as delegation or communication, or more general, such as a goal to increase employee engagement or improve team collaboration.
The leader will also have quantitative goals dictated by the organization’s annual and strategic operating plans.
Overall, a leadership performance review can be a valuable tool for employers, managers, and supervisors looking to improve their organization’s leadership effectiveness.
By providing targeted feedback and setting clear objectives for improvement, your organization can foster a culture of continuous improvement and support its leaders in developing their leadership skills.
Why are leadership evaluations important?
Leadership evaluations are essential for employers, managers, and supervisors looking to improve leadership performance, identify potential successors, and foster a culture of continuous improvement within their organizations.
Some top reasons leadership evaluations are so important:
- Feedback. Performance reviews provide positive feedback to leaders on their strengths and constructive criticism in areas for improvement, which helps them be more effective in their roles.
- Goal setting. Setting goals during evaluations helps leaders stay focused and accountable for their performance and professional development.
- Accountability. Leadership evaluations create a sense of accountability and responsibility for leaders to improve their time management, decision-making, work environment and delivery of commitments from their team.
- Succession planning. Evaluations help identify potential successors for key leadership positions, ensuring the continuity of high performers and retention of good leaders.
- Professional development. Evaluations provide leaders with opportunities for professional development, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to excel in their roles and contribute to the organization’s success.
- Fairness. Consistent and fair evaluations promote fairness and objectivity in the workplace, ensuring all leaders are held to the same standards.
How to evaluate leaders in your organization
Evaluating leaders in your organization is crucial to ensuring your company’s success. We explain the six steps for assessing the performance of your leaders and providing actionable feedback to help them grow and succeed.
- Gather feedback
- Review performance goals
- Evaluate performance
- Provide feedback
- Develop an action plan
- Follow up
1. Gather feedback
The first step in evaluating your leaders is to gather feedback from various sources. This feedback can come from direct reports, supervisors, team members, and the leader themselves through a leadership self-evaluation.
Degree of achievement of relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) will be available from the organizational scorecard or dashboard.
Gathering feedback from various stakeholders can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the leader’s strengths and areas for improvement. Various tools are available to collect feedback on leadership competencies, communication skills, decision-making, and other relevant areas. One tool is the 360-degree feedback survey, which collects feedback from co-workers, providing a well-rounded view of the leader’s performance.
In addition, Human Resources (HR) can provide guidance on implementing and using feedback tools effectively as part of the performance review process.
By asking the right performance review questions, encouraging open and honest feedback, and ensuring anonymity, you can create a safe space for members of the team to share their thoughts and opinions on the leaders in your organization.
2. Review performance goals
The second step in evaluating leaders is to review their performance goals. This process involves revisiting the goals set at the beginning of the performance cycle and assessing the leader’s progress toward achieving those goals.
It’s important to evaluate whether the leader has met, exceeded, or needs improvement in meeting their performance goals. The review can include individual and team goals, such as meeting deadlines, achieving sales targets, improving customer satisfaction ratings, and delivering bottom-line results. It’s also important to assess any challenges or obstacles that may affect the leader’s performance and identify areas for improvement.
By reviewing performance goals, employers, managers, and supervisors can get a clearer picture of the leader’s effectiveness and impact on the organization’s overall performance.
3. Evaluate performance
The third step in evaluating leaders is to assess their performance based on the feedback collected in the first step and their progress toward their performance goals discussed in step two. This process involves evaluating their strengths and areas for improvement.
It’s important to assess how well the leader demonstrates effective performance in their role, including their ability to work well with others, meet deadlines, and achieve organizational goals.
In addition, a significant part of the leader’s performance assessment should tie to the organization’s performance. Evaluating the leader’s performance in the context of the team and organization can provide a more accurate picture of their impact and effectiveness.
When evaluating the leader’s performance, use clear and objective criteria that align with the organization’s goals and values. These criteria include whether the leader meets or exceeds expectations for teamwork, communication, decision-making, and other relevant qualitative areas and customer satisfaction, quality, delivery, and cost in quantitative KPI goals.
By evaluating performance metrics, you can gain insight into the leader’s strengths and areas for improvement, which can inform professional development plans.
4. Provide feedback
The fourth step is to give your leaders feedback on their performance. This step involves communicating the leader’s strengths and areas for improvement identified in step three.
To provide effective feedback, be specific and provide examples that illustrate your points. For example, if a leader’s communication skills need improvement, provide examples of situations where their communication could have been more effective and offer actionable recommendations for improvement.
It’s also important to provide feedback in a way that’s constructive and encourages the leader to continue their hard work. Open communication and creating a safe space for the leader to ask questions and receive feedback are key. Providing ongoing mentoring and support can also help leaders develop their skills and improve.
Finally, it’s essential to tie feedback to the specific performance appraisal criteria discussed in step three. Employers, managers, and supervisors can help their leaders improve and perform well by providing clear and actionable feedback on those criteria.
5. Develop an action plan
The next step is to develop an action plan to address any areas for improvement and build on their strengths. To create an effective action plan, work collaboratively with the leader to set SMART goals that are specific (S), measurable (M), attainable (A), relevant (R), and time-bound (T). Goals should align with the organization’s strategic objectives and the leader’s development plan.
Ensure your leaders have the necessary resources, support, and training to achieve their goals. Monitoring progress regularly and adjusting their action plan as needed is vital. This process allows leaders to continue developing their problem-solving and management skills while improving overall performance.
6. Follow up
Once you’ve completed the performance evaluation and developed an action plan, follow up regularly with the leader to monitor their progress. Schedule regular check-ins to discuss their progress and provide ongoing support and feedback. This follow-up phase can help your leader stay on track and meet performance goals.
During these check-ins, you can adjust the action plan and performance goals based on feedback and progress.
Keep an open line of communication with the leader to ensure they feel supported and valued. Regularly following up can help your leader meet expectations and improve employee performance.
Example phrases for performance reviews
When providing feedback in leadership performance reviews, finding the right words that accurately reflect their strengths and areas for improvement can be challenging.
Below are example performance review phrases to help employers and businesses provide meaningful feedback in their performance review process.
- Consistently demonstrates a strong work ethic and inspires team members to do the same.
- Exhibits dynamic leadership by motivating remote team members to achieve their goals and collaborate effectively.
- Has a talent for problem-solving and finding creative solutions to complex issues.
- Maintains a positive attitude and fosters a supportive work environment.
- Exhibits strong leadership skills and consistently guides the team toward success.
- Demonstrates a commitment to personal and professional growth and encourages team members to do the same.
- Effectively delegates tasks and responsibilities, empowering team members to take ownership and achieve results.
- Shows a willingness to listen to feedback and make changes to improve performance.
- Maintains a high level of professionalism and integrity in all interactions.
- Demonstrates empathetic leadership and effectively navigates challenges with team members.
- Effectively manages time and resources to meet goals and deadlines.
How to evaluate your own leadership
As a leader, evaluating your own performance is a valuable exercise to improve your leadership skills. When evaluating your leadership, consider your strengths and areas for improvement and how they impact your team and organization.
Specific ways to perform a leadership performance self-review include:
- Reflect on your communication skills. Consider how well you communicate with team members, stakeholders, and clients. Think about your tone, body language, and choice of words. Ask yourself if you’re clear and concise, take time to actively listen to others, and adjust your communication style to different situations and audiences.
- Assess your decision-making process. Think about how you make decisions as a leader. Consider whether you involve team members in the decision-making process, gather enough information before making a decision, weigh the pros and cons of each option, and make timely decisions. Ask yourself if you’re decisive and confident in your decisions or if you tend to procrastinate or avoid making tough decisions.
- Evaluate your leadership style. Consider your approach to leadership and management. Ask yourself if you are leading by example, approachable, and open to feedback and providing opportunities for your team members to grow and develop. Reflect on how you handle conflicts and challenges, if you motivate and inspire your team, and if you adapt your leadership style to different individuals and situations.
- Assess your team’s results. While leadership traits are important, delivering results is the ultimate measure of leadership performance in most organizations. Develop and use a scoreboard throughout the year to monitor your team’s performance and make adjustments to stay on track in key result areas.
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Performance appraisals are a crucial tool in evaluating the effectiveness of leaders in your organization.
By following this step-by-step guide, you can prepare to administer performance reviews, effectively assess the performance of your leaders, and provide constructive feedback to help them improve. As a leader, you can conduct self-evaluations to identify areas for growth and development.
Leverage the power of Upwork to improve your performance management practices. Whether you’re looking to hire a performance appraisal specialist or want to work as a freelancer in this field, Upwork provides a platform to connect with top talent and businesses.
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