It's Winter, and for me that means preparing for the coming year at work. I have something of an organizational problem; in many areas I am highly organized and things run perfectly. In other areas, not so much.
I have figured out that I am organized in the areas where there is a clear set of rules to follow, and nicely defined right-and-wrong. For the invoices my group processes, for example, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. I've defined the right way, written it down, make it available for everyone, and pay a person to answer questions: perfection.
An area I'm not very organized in is performance evaluations. I feel I am good at giving feedback to my groups on an on-going basis; I advise people when they're doing things contrary to the standard and give them an opportunity to fix it. But that end of year discussion where we sum up how effectively an employee has performed over the year, what the next year's expectations are ... that's sort of where I fail. It's there inside me, I'm just really struggling to get it out.
Part of the problem is that many of our goals are difficult to measure. Another part of the problem is that I don't have a lot of resources in place to measure other areas of performance. Every year I learn something new though, and this last year was no exception.
I bought a book, a managerial tool for writing effective performance evaluations, and it came with a disc (love books that come with discs). On the disc are documents that are designed to document various incidents through-out the year ... friendly reminders to correct behaviour called "ticklers", and commendations for a job well done called "kudos".
It's so simple. I should have thought of that. Sure, I write this stuff down. I have journal I keep for work, and I write my notes daily to track my own and others' progress. If the job was especially well done I send an email and put it in the employee's file. But the idea of a form for such things, which I can place in an employee's file to review for their evaluation ... this is genius to me. I wish I'd thought of it.
There are so many things that I just don't know. I happened into my position as manager. I got the job because I was the most practical choice in my office at that time; I am willing to do the work and to do it well. I have significant supervisory experience in my background, but no formal education in it and no real training. I'm bossy and capable, and that's pretty much the extent of my qualifications. Some things seem obvious, but there are a lot of things I don't think of.
Thank goodness for the library!