His enthusiasm for the personnel profession inspired all those with
whom he had contact. His purpose was to serve the needs of both the University
and its employees, and he accomplished this with a fresh, personal and
uninhibited approach to personnel management. Ted was a dedicated, demanding
executive and a sensitive, fun-loving friend. His style of leadership
is epotimized in the following paper he wrote entitled "Performance Reviews
Much has been written in the area of personnel appraisal and review.
Many elaborate programs have been established and courses taught in the
art of conducting this particular type of review. Supervisors have been
led to believe that this is an area that all must enter, but the chance
of success is slim. Nothing could be further from the truth. If we stop
the gobbledygook, fear and nonsense that has surrounded this procedure,
anyone can handle it with ease. Performance reviews should not only be
helpful in improving performance, but should be an exhilarating, desirable,
and rewarding experience for both supervisor and subordinate. Performance
reviews can be easy.
Let us first analyze the purpose that is to be accomplished. The only
reason for their existence is to improve performance. Too many of the
pitfalls that have been discussed by many writers have to do with facing
the unpleasant task of telling an unsatisfactory employee that he is a
poor worker. The verbal gymnastics they suggest to prevent getting this
idea across would scare anyone but the most skilled psychoanalyst. But,
why concentrate on the unsatisfactory employee? How many poor employees
do we have? We certainly have not accomplished what we have with a herd
of incompetents. Why, then, should this be the major group on which the
procedure is based? You and I know that the great majority of employees
are hard-working, loyal, enthusiastic individuals that get great satisfaction
out of a job well done. Let's concern ourselves with helping them do an
even better job. They will welcome our help and approach any performance
interview with utmost enthusiasm.
By simplifying performance reviews, we may illustrate the point. Suppose
you were to encounter a fellow with a stalled car on the highway. You
stop and ask if you can help. Upon examining the situation, you note that
the coil wire has worked loose. You suggest the solution to him and his
car starts. Is this a real traumatic experience for both of you? Is he
completely shaken by the experience? Or, do you think he would smile pleasantly
and offer "thanks a lot"?
What is so difference about one of your subordinates if your honest desire is to be of help?
Some of you are probably thinking that the situation above is not analogous. Let's take a look. Man is "working" on car. You "appraise" his performance. You suggest an "improvement". He gets satisfactory results. What more could you ask of a personnel development situation?
Performance reviews can be easy. Ignore all the things you have heard in the past and try these simple steps to success. By making evaluations sound difficult, complicated and mysterious, authors of personnel journals have maintained their employment in order to interpret the self-cause confusion. Away with the smoke screen!
I think you will agree that the steps I have outlined above should be
quite easy to take. This is all that is needed to improve performance.
Don't let anyone try to force a more complicated procedure upon you. Both
you and your subordinate should find it a rewarding, performance-improving
For you pessimists who like to concentrate on these few employees who just can't do a satisfactory job and can't improve, the above procedure might seem incomplete. Once again, this type of situation is easy to face if you are honest and sincere. No one likes to do an unsatisfactory job. Everyone likes to be a success. When you find an employee who does poorly on an assigned task, try to evaluate what he can do well. Use the positive approach. Suggest to him that he get into the type of work that will use these skills and minimize his weaknesses. How can an employee be unhappy if you approach the problem in this manner, and give him hope that he too can be a success.
If I have made this sound easier than you thought, then I have accomplished my goal. Complications have been created by pessimists. Difficulties don't need to exist to the extent they now seem to. Follow these simple steps and Performance Reviews will be easy and they will also be effective.