Getting started on a performance log – stick with the praise

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’ve recently posted several articles providing guidance on how managers can keep a performance log of their employees.  You can either go beginner level (start tracking behaviors to check for trends and impact), intermediate level (track your performance feedback), and advanced level (track the change in behavior and impact after the feedback).

But how do you get started?  Here’s an easy tip:  Focus on documenting the behaviors that you like and praise.

Let’s not dwell on that negative stuff right now.  Instead, seek out and identify the stuff that your employees are doing well, and be sure to praise the employee directly for this.    Praise is quickly given and easily performed.  It is cheap and it is well-received.  Now, ideally, you don’t just say, “good job” or “I like that.”  You have to say why it is a good job, and, if possible, what the impact is.  And it still needs to use behavior-based language.

But it is also easily forgotten!

So after you perform the praise, stay on top of your game and document it in your performance log.  Here are some good things that can happen:

  1. Your performance log will act as a kind of celebration of the things that are going right on your team
  2. You can discuss these things in future team meetings as a reminder of the good work happening on the team.
  3. Your employees will keep doing what you praised them on.
  4. Some employees will start to try to do even better (i.e., “up their game”)
  5. If you start to praise examples of teamwork, then you’ll get more teamwork
  6. It helps mitigate the possibility of taking ongoing good work for granted
  7. Word will get out on what it is that you liked, and others will start to try to do those things more
  8. The more you praise what you like about what’s going on, the better you identify the strengths of your employees
  9. The better you can strategize on how to use the team strengths in the future
  10. When it comes to the end of the year assessment, you can better look at the good work that was done and the impact
  11. Now you can strategize what the next level of good work and impact can be

Also, it keeps you in the mindset that you are there to encourage and enhance the good behaviors that employees typically strive toward when they go to work.  The “positive” performance log reinforces and edifies what you want to see more of, and who is doing it.

So if you are just getting started with your performance log, keep to the good stuff.  It will show you and remind you of the good stuff going on with your team.

Now don’t start praising every behavior (and definitely don’t praise the behaviors that have no impact or a negative impact) – just the ones you want to keep seeing and demonstrate a positive impact.

Have you ever known a manager who actually tracks the good work going on with the team?  What is that like?  Did it actually turn into a strategic benefit?

For you management designers out there, what are you doing to encourage managers to focus on and reinforce the positive actions happening?

Related Items:

Helpful tip for managers: Keep a performance log

Important fields that an employee performance log should contain – Beginner Level

Important fields that an employee performance log should contain – Intermediate Level

Important fields that an employee performance log should contain – Advanced Level

Keeping a performance log – why not?

Why the annual performance review is often toxic

The myth of “one good thing, one bad thing” on a performance review

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About Walter Oelwein
Walter Oelwein, CMC, CPT, helps managers become better at managing. To do this, he founded Business Performance Consulting, LLC .


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