10 Myths About Performance Management

Performance Management….possibly two of the most hated words in the workplace.  Is it really a bad thing or have the urban legends about the process become worse than reality?

Let’s take a look at the top ten myths about performance management:

1.       At least performance management discussions only happens twice a year

Performance management is an ongoing process not a periodic event.  It is about sharing the gift of feedback, both positive and constructive, to help individuals grow personally and professionally.

 2.       If I perform well, I won’t need to have development conversations

Performance management is not about performing well but rather about ongoing development.  Don’t think of it as doing well but as doing better than I did yesterday.  Development conversations are meant to support individuals on their growth journey.

 3.       If no one says anything to me, I can avoid the whole performance management process

The most successful individuals take responsibility for their own growth and manage their own performance.  If your manager does not provide feedback, you should ask for it!

 4.       A poor rating will remove your ability to partake in development activities

Everyone has areas for development, and therefore everyone should have access to development activities.  Remember, activities can range from shadowing a co-worker, to taking a course or attending a conference.  Development activities are judged for effectiveness by how well they are matched to the individual’s needs not the amount spent.

 5.       You can expect a satisfactory performance rating regardless of your actual performance

We are not all equal in our abilities or performance or tenure.  Performance appraisals should be based on how each individual is progressing towards his or her unique goals.  Painting all employees with the same brush is not fair to any one employee.  Everyone is deserving of individual and unique feedback.

 6.       I do not have the same potential as another employee in my section so I will receive a less favourable review

Assessments are individual and should consider an employee’s current performance and achievements towards objectives.  Potential is an important component of succession planning but should not adversely impact an evaluation.

 7.       I’ve never had a performance review so it is too late for someone to start to assess me now

Performance management is a right of management.  Unless it has been contractually negotiated away, a system of performance management can be introduced at any time in the employment relationship.  A better concern is why a performance management process hasn’t been available sooner.

 8.       Self-evaluation is your manager trying to get you to identify your weaknesses so s/he doesn’t have to do it

Self-evaluation is an important part of an individual’s development as it enhances self-awareness, an important part of leadership development.  Ideally individuals and managers should each complete an assessment and compare and contrast the results.

9.       You will hear new information about your performance during your annual or biannual evaluation

As performance management should be ongoing and frequent, nothing new should ever arise from the formalized conversations.  The purpose of scheduled performance discussions are meant to recap the feedback given since the last formalized conversation not to catch up on feedback not provided.

 10.   That boo-boo you made three weeks ago will be the focus of the discussion

Performance management is about overall achievements and progress towards objectives.  No one event, positive or not-so-positive should overshadow the conversation.


If these myths still appear in your workplace, take solace that they do not exist in successful corporations.  If your workplace wants to continue to attract and retain the best talent, you will see changes.

If not, well look around for other urban legends present in the office.  Perhaps highly trained office gnomes and worker fairies are in the corporate talent management plan.


3 thoughts on “10 Myths About Performance Management

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s