Licensee BadgeTraining Badge
Submitted by williamelledgepe on


How much of my direct report's annual performance evaluation should be based on their direct's (my skip's) performance?

For example: Collaboration is a primary criteria I am using.  My direct is somewhere between OK and mediocre.  This person's directs include the following (approximate) distribution:

  • excellent (1 skip)
  • average (2 direct)
  • sub-par (3 directs)
  • combative (2 directs)

I am trying to weigh the direct's individual performance vs the direct's responsibility to insure performance by their staff (which is, of course included in their individual performance to some degree).

JonathanGiglio's picture
Licensee Badge

You've to to evaluate your direct on their own merits. How effective is this manager in getting results. And does he sacrifice retention metrics (like collaboration) in getting them?

Keep in mind the recent "Ore Cart" cast as well. Not everyone has to help push the cart, just as long as few people as possible are pulling against it.
I would guess you probably have a similar distribution amongst your directs. What does your boss (VP or Senior Director I assume) evaluate you on?

When you say combative, do you really mean these people don't like to work with others? Or are they just resistant to organizational direction in general?
Is the manager getting 10x performance out of his Excellent employee, like he should be?

katehorstman's picture
Admin Role Badge

I think you hit the nail on the head in the last paragraph of your question. Your directs performance and their responsibility to ensure performance of their directs are two separate criteria to evaluate. For instance, they could be collaborating at at certain level and developing their directs at another. They might be at a 5 out of 10 on the scale of collaboration. And a 4 out of 10 on development of directs. Those can be separate parameters. 
That said, our guidance is that evaluations should be based on objective data and measurable behaviors of your direct. Its always a good idea to start with the job description. Are they delivering to their job description? If you can or have been measuring their collaboration, the metrics should be available to base the evaluation on both their and their directs collaboration. Maybe Im missing the question here, but you can evaluate both their collaboration with their directs AND their directs collaboration in general. If the issue is that they collaborate with different team members differently, you can evaluate that to. 


williamelledgepe's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

JonathanGiglio, Regarding what my boss holds me accountable for: I have not yet had a review, but we have had many conversations about the need for me to change the behavior of my skips through my directs.  I assume she will hold me accountable for this numerically on my evaluation, though, we do not have a quantified metric for determining an "acceptable" level of collaboration.  The message I have received clearly : the behavior of my skips needs to change.  

JonathanGiglio, Regarding my use of the term combative: During project meetings and staff meetings they have been (prior to my joining) argumentative to a degree where others request their removal - repeatedly.  I have seen only a couple anectodes to support this since coming into this position a month ago.  

KateHorstman, I like the idea of separate parameters.  On my evaluation form,  we have ten criiteria.  For some I will include a SEER statement about their own performance and on other criteria I will include a SEER statement about their responsibilty to ensure performance of their directs.  We have criteria for supervision, communication, and teamwork - these seem like good places to document performance regarding collaboration between my direct's staff and their coutnerparts throughout the organization.  Very helpful - thanks.  

KateHorstman, Regarding objective data and measurable behaviors: The only hard data we track is project schedule.  We do not track data for scope or quality and seem to have little regard for going over (or under) budget.   I plan to change that, but that is the system I have right now.  A complicating factor: I have only been in the position a month and reviews are due in a couple months.  Coupling a lack of metrics with the timing of completing a review while observing 25% of the year, I am in danger of basing a review on limited facts or events.  I believe your advice about objective data and measurable behaviors will still be useful as I develop a SEER statement.  I believe it iwll be even more important in developing my metrics going forward.  Thanks.  

katehorstman's picture
Admin Role Badge

It sounds like youre on the right track! Have you listened to the podcast "Performance Reviews With Little Time In Role"? It might be helpful in gathering data since you have a short time frame. As well, now might be the perfect time frame to listen to it, since it recommends getting some inputs a little earlier in the process. 

Best of luck- keep us posted!


JonathanGiglio's picture
Licensee Badge

If your boss mentioned it, you will definitely be held accountable. This seems to go beyond collaboration, but into professional behavior.

Personally, if I were in your spot, my review of the manager would be a "shot across the bow", in that I would start with a sub-par review if I could (or carry over the expected review from the previous manager) and then roll out the trinity - FAST! Let your boss know that you're holding him accountable for past performance with an opportunity for significant improve. These folks need action plans and you need a direct who can deliver them.

If you have folks are your team (and make no mistake, your skips are your team) who need to removed from meetings, they need to be removed from the company by year end if behavior doesn't change. Look for Dani's podcasts on "Yes, you can fire someone".

Use your newness to your advantage, and let folks know this is not how business is conducted. I know Mark and Mike recommend no changes for 6 months, but I suspect that these skips might be the reason you got your new role.

We just went through this in my office. An individual contributor was being incredibly disruptive to the entire cross-functional team. His manager left and a new manager took over - he's no longer impacting our department (although unfortunately he wasn't fired).

Think how you want your team performing in 6 months? What would it look like - and build to that future.

Good luck!