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Had my annual performance review. Was told I fell short of the mark in three areas. Blind-sided. It was news to me!

tomw's picture

Had you done anything to check up on your progress with your supervisor?

ktnbs's picture

Yes. Sup is right down the hall and interacts frequently with me and other two directs. Door is always open. Sup is very friendly and egalitarian beyond the norms.

Sup regularly tells us, including myself, "You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work. Don't know what I would do without you. etc." Of course those statements are very general, though they are delivered with sincerity and enthusiam. Occassionally those statements are attached to specific actions/behaviors.

I have been in this position with boss for five years. Pattern has remained the same. Not the first time I have gotten "news" at the annual review. But until now, I never quibbled with it, as it seemed minor and I always get a "superior" over-all rating. However, last year, I got an oustanding rating (meant a raise), and I had no reason not expect another outstanding rating this year. No indications were given to me that I was not.

I do understand better what I am dealing with in the boss now. That is I can articulate it better in terms of behaviors instead of just adjectival descriptions. The primary theme is best captured in this quote of a quote from another topic in the forum.

[quote]First, many managers think they are too busy. Of course, the real problem is that most of those managers see themselves primarily as individual contributors who happen to have direct reports. They fail to realize that the most important part of their jobs is providing their people with what they need to be productive and fulfilled (a.k.a. not miserable) in their jobs.[/quote] Bingo.

Quote from Will Duke in other topic area:
[quote]I wrote up job descriptions a couple of years ago. (We're a small company, 8 people.) What a waste of time. Now that we have weekly O3s we're discussing performance constantly. Nobody's surprised by anything. That's the beauty of the O3, especially when mixed with feedback, everyone knows exactly how well they're doing all the time.[/quote]

Mark's picture

Okay, well done that you recognize that you had a responsibility to know this in advance.

And, your boss had a bigger responsibility than you did. His failure, egalitarian tendencies aside, was far greater than yours.

Sounds like he's conflict averse. Beware.

Mark

stephenbooth_uk's picture

My employer recently introduced training for managers on how to perform PDRs (Performance and Development Reviews, up until last year the P stood for 'Personal). I attended last year and discovered that every review I'd had since starting with the organisation was handled 100% wrong. Once of the cardinal points, the Prime Directive, from the training was that if the review is going to contain anything at all negative it should not be the first time the person has heard about it and they must have had opportunity to correct it before the review. If they haven't been told about it before or were but too shortly before the review meeting to realistically correct it (or for the corrective action to have taken effect) then it can be mentioned but it cannot be used to influence their scores. I think this links in with the idea that if you don't give adjusting feedback the person gets feedback anyway, feedback that whatever it is they did is OK.

You've been told that every thing's OK (not just left to assume that from your bosses silence) and then got mugged at your review. Double plus ungood. Are you aware of any political movements? It does sound quite suspect to me, but perhaps I'm just projecting prior negative experiences onto your situation.

Stephen

ktnbs's picture

[quote]Sounds like he's conflict averse. Beware.[/quote]

I about spilled my coffee early this Sunday morning reading that. :shock: My gut feeling agrees with that statement but why?

[quote]You've been told that every thing's OK (not just left to assume that from your bosses silence) and then got mugged at your review. Double plus ungood. Are you aware of any political movements? It does sound quite suspect to me, but perhaps I'm just projecting prior negative experiences onto your situation. [/quote]

No doubt it is. I am quite up-front about improvements we could and should make in our department. Have been for years.
For example: The typical pattern of my (and others in the department) performance reviews with this chap goes like this:
[b]Boss:[/b] You're doing great!
[b]Employee:[/b] Thanks.
[b]Boss:[/b] Tell me how I am doing...but you know, I am not a very good manager. (yes, really says that.)
[b]AND[/b] my mistake is that I do tell him....often getting acknowledgment from him, mea culpas and a hardy "gee-whiz, what I like about you is that I can count on you to be frank and tell it like it is."

Well, boy-howdy, label me stupid! :oops:

juliahhavener's picture

[quote]I about spilled my coffee early this Sunday morning reading that. My gut feeling agrees with that statement but why? [/quote]

I'm not Mark, but here's my guess:

If I tell you all year long you're doing great until it comes time to write your review, then put your performance issues into writing...chances are I'm not up for the 'conflict' of telling you throughout the year the items you need to work on.

ktnbs's picture

[quote]If I tell you all year long you're doing great until it comes time to write your review, then put your performance issues into writing...chances are I'm not up for the 'conflict' of telling you throughout the year the items you need to work on.[/quote]

Groan. :? :roll:

Mark's picture

Okay...but I want to disagree slightly with a possible conclusion that could be drawn from Stephen's comment. (Stephen - you're not wrong - have no worries).

Stephen's right...but how it's supposed to be done is so rare as to be a non-sensical guide for directs dealing with their managers.

Don't confuse wanting your boss to be right with what your boss is going to do, and why he does it. Your boss thinks he's doing it right...and you're NOT going to convince him otherwise.

EMBRACE REALITY, pretty much.

Mark

ktnbs's picture

[quote]Don't confuse wanting your boss to be right with what your boss is going to do, and why he does it. Your boss thinks he's doing it right...and you're NOT going to convince him otherwise.

EMBRACE REALITY, pretty much. [/quote]

I am going to have to suck it up and play with the current deck. Thanks all for the comments!

[i][b]No man will be found in whose mind airy notions do not sometimes tyrannize, and force him to hope or fear beyond the limits of sober probability.[/b][/i] ~Samuel Johnson

Mark's picture

BRILLIANT. Good call!!

And make a note about the kind of boss you'll never be. (That's called the Delta File, by the way).

Mark

ktnbs's picture

I believe I am almost out of this situation which has gotten even worse since I last posted.

For instance, the shop, had its first staff meeting since April of 2007, yes, 2007, and it was nothing short of a fiasco. It was primarily called because of pending mass exodus, myself included. There was no agenda, the date and time were originally set for X day two weeks ahead of time and then at the last minute changed to Y day, the morning following a three day weekend and the manager openly wondered why some did not attend! (they made other plans based on first X day and did not get the last minute change!) The remote attendees were on a very poor speaker phone set-up while the video-conference facilities available were not utilized.

I further reviewed the Interviewing and Resume series. On the first subsequent position that I submitted the improved resume, I got an interview. The interview went very well and for the first time I closed one with the "I want an offer" statement that left them, I could tell, a little taken back. Two days later, I got an offer.

jhack's picture

Thank you so much for the update. Please let us know if you accept and how the new position goes.

John

HMac's picture

Great news! Congratulations on DOING something about your situation, and not sitting there hoping your boss would change.

Do keep us posted.

-Hugh

PS - what a horror show that staff meeting sounded like. Ugh!

ktnbs's picture

I will be reporting to my new position in two weeks. Long time getting the date nailed down.

Way back when I had the interview for the new position, the manager of the shop had me write several names down and stated that these people worked for them and to "feel free to call any one or all of them and ask them anything about me." I did.

Next challenge, and I do call it that because I feel I was pretty much screwed over here, pardon the crude statement, is to exit gracefully and skillfully. Another co-worker is escaping shortly after me and our mutual exits have prompted further unbelievably bad management decisions to mitigate our absences.

jhack's picture

Congrats. These things are almost always harder in the execution than the theory.

Once you're in the new position, let us know more about it and how it's going.

Thanks for updating.

John

bflynn's picture

I know it can be difficult, but look forward, not back. Keep all the relationships you can (you can never have enough) but do a dump and burn of the old company. Perhaps it will fold, perhaps it will revive itself. It is not your problem anymore.

Focus with your whole mind on the future company and believe in the good there.

Brian

mkirk's picture

At the risk of telling you something you already know, there is the 'How to resign' podcast (or two). Of course, it starts with 'you need 12 weeks to prepare to resign' and yes that's true in an ideal world, but even if you only have 12 days, or even 12 hours, I recommend having a listen. It does a great job of showing the big picture and the benefits of grace, humility and planning.

I was lucky enough to have 12 weeks to plan a resignation earlier this year. I pretty much followed the MT recommendations (Boy, was it hard work) and not only did I leave gracefully and with thanks, I got asked to return for some consulting work at pretty much double my original salary for a few weeks. Lucky, I know, but I doubt my original resignation plan (turn up dressed as Rambo and spray paint my old boss) would have had quite the same effect.

Good luck with the new role.