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  • Writer's pictureAnna Conrad

A Tool For Better Performance Reviews

If your company is like most, you are preparing to conduct annual performance reviews. These discussions may have tension and conflict and do more harm than good if managers aren't trained in coaching.

Make It About You

As you prepare for the conversation, remember to understand it as it relates to your Insights style. Be aware of your triggers, strengths, preferences, and shortcomings. This is half of each performance feedback conversation. It's the interaction, not necessarily the content, of the discussion that makes a difference.

Forget the Golden Rule

Personality styles and attitudes should influence the performance review conversation. If you want your conversation to go sideways, adhere to The Golden Rule: Treat others how I want to be treated. Instead, embrace The Platinum Rule: Treat others how they want to be treated. Use a communication assessment, such as Insights, to guide you in learning how people want to be treated.

Performance Feedback to Driver Styles

Someone with a dominant Driver style may have a strong personality and be driven by quick action. They may walk into the meeting with a defensive mindset and be argumentative if they feel like their status is threatened.

The key to a successful performance review discussion is knowing that dominant Driver styles always seek opportunities to advance. First, ask them what they need from you to be more successful. Then, after listening to them, ask if you can share items you believe will help them advance their career. Asking for permission before telling helps them feel they are in charge of the performance review, and you can give them your insights with little to no defensive behavior.

Performance Feedback to Expressive Styles

The Expressive style’s greatest fear is rejection so they may approach the performance review with dread. Constructive feedback may be seen as a big rejection sandwich, no matter how good you say about them.

Begin the conversation by acknowledging their contributions, achievements, and energy. After you ask – and listen to - what they need to be successful, ask if they want to change anything about their performance or how they show up. Listen, affirm, and ask how you can help with that change. Unless there is a severe performance issue (which shouldn't have waited until the annual review), thank them for their hard work and go to lunch. No rejection sandwich was served today!

Performance Feedback to Amiable Styles

Everything was going along fine, and the Amiable styles wanted it to stay that way. Someone with a dominant Amiable style may understand that changes will be needed after the performance review. This may cause discomfort to them, as they may fear change.

Like the dominant Expressive style, they dislike conflict. The difference is that the Amiable style likes routines. Because of this, talk about the changes needed as building small habits, not an entirely new way. Focusing on the safety of new practices will help them look past the fear of change and allow them to stretch themselves.

Performance Feedback to Analytical Styles

Finally, someone with a dominant Analytical style may fear criticism, which is how they view the performance review discussion.

They also love details. When you provide their contributions, be sure to have great detail. Realize they will come prepared with data to disprove performance suggestions they disagree with and that they are their worst critics.

As with the other styles, begin by asking them what they’d like to improve in their job performance. In true, high-standard, self-critical fashion, they will probably list more than enough growth opportunities. At that point, your job is to help narrow their focus to one to two performance improvements.

Last Thought

Remember to frame each performance review conversation around the opportunity for advancement. From there, work with each personality style’s desires to create a positive performance review that will energize them for the coming year.

Contact us at to learn about Insights and how it can benefit you, your team, and your organization.


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