Leading Change and Performance Feedback

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

As the year comes to a close and some of you scramble to think about end of year evaluations, I urge you to read Shankar Vedantam’s fine column in the 12/10/07 Washington Post. His article could have an impact on performance, in general, as well as on how you give feedback related to change. Here are a couple of the more intriguing tidbits:

In citing research by Swann and others, he notes “. . . conventional wisdom about end-of-year performance evaluations and the general good cheer demanded by the Christmastime season might have paradoxical effects for many people. Managers who offer inaccurately glowing reports in the hope of encouraging employee loyalty may discover that employees with low self-esteem feel less loyal afterward.”

“. . . while people with high self-esteem prefer to work in companies that treat them fairly, those with low self-esteem do not feel more committed to organizations with high levels of fairness. If anything, their commitment increased when organizational fairness decreased.” I find that fascinating but I don’t quite know what to do with that information. Nevertheless, interesting, huh?

“All people carry around an image of themselves that tells them who they are. . . people want to be recognized for the things they are good at. . . many people also want honest acknowledgement of their flaws, and that when those flaws are minimized or wished away, people ending up feeling worse rather than better.”

Here’s how to access the article: The Washington Post. If that link doesn’t work, go to www.washingtonpost.com and search on “Christmastime Self-Esteem Paradox.”