Accentuate the positive

A local government worker I met recently was most despondent. His performance appraisal was such a bad experience that it made him want to quit work completely.
His manager listed a number of tasks he hadn’t done well and failed to acknowledge what he had achieved in his work. He could see that she was busy and stressed herself and wanted to get the unpleasant task of doing a performance appraisal over and done with. However the two meager lines she wrote said that Jim had completed all the assigned tasks to a satisfactory degree.
Jim was devastated. He wasn’t necessarily looking for a pay rise based on this appraisal, but what he did want was recognition for the initiatives he had taken and the support he had given to other staff.
He had done a lot that was important for the team’s well-being but his manager hadn’t noticed or didn’t particularly value his efforts.
Performance appraisals can be a pain for managers. They cut into the work a couple of times a year and the format often lends itself to focusing on the negative. Managers themselves are subject to performance appraisals which may be equally unpleasant.

Good performance appraisals can be positive and enhance worker engagement by giving formal recognition for what has been achieved. What you write goes on the record will be read in future years by others who don’t know the context
What you write won’t affect you in the future but it will affect your team members.
Whether you are a manager or not, be generous in your praise and recognition of others. Research has shown that people respond best in a work situation when they hear four positive statements to one negative criticism. For couples in their private lives this ratio is closer to seven positives to one negative comment.
Take a moment to say or write something positive to someone right now, it could make all the difference.