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Should I Go Over The Employee’s Appraisal With My Manager Before I Review It With The Individual?

Yes. Reviewing your performance appraisal of a subordinate before you hold the appraisal review discussion with that person is a very wise thing to do.

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Here are the benefits of reviewing your performance appraisals of your staff with your boss before you discuss them with the members of the team:

Error Reduction. Your boss might just spot some mistakes you have made in writing the performance appraisals. Some of the mistakes might be minor, but having another person review the appraisal before it’s delivered may also prevent some hugely embarrassing blunders. (Your boss might just say, ‘‘Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Harriet who told our best customer to go piss up a rope last winter, not Molly?’’ It would be good to correct that mistake before you give Molly the appraisal with the inaccurate accusation on it.)

Broader Organizational Scope. Your boss is probably reasonably familiar with the quality of work done by the people under your direct supervision. She’s also familiar with the quality of work done by people who work for other supervisors. It may well be that where you have rated a person as fully successful, your boss can suggest that based on the performance of others and the ratings they have been given, a rating of ‘‘superior’’ (or perhaps, ‘‘needs improvement’’) might be more appropriate.

Less Chance of Personality Factors or Rating Errors Playing an Inappropriate Part in the Appraisal. If a supervisor has to defend a negative performance appraisal of a subordinate to his boss before he can deliver the bad news to the individual, there’s less chance that a personal grudge or a rating error will mar the accuracy of the evaluation. It’s easy for an employee to complain that the reason he got a bad performance review was that the boss didn’t like him. It’s more difficult for that person to claim that the bad review was a function of a conspiracy between the boss and his boss, both sharing the secret objective of sticking it to an innocent subordinate.

Less Likelihood of Challenge. If the employee with a poor performance rating sees the signatures of both his immediate supervisor and that person’s superior, he’s less likely to challenge the bad rating as merely a manifestation of a personality clash or some other inappropriate cause, since at least two people share a common view of the low quality of his performance.

Greater Defensibility. If the employee does challenge a performance appraisal rating, there’s less chance that the challenge will be sustained if the organization can demonstrate that the supervisor’s appraisal rating was reviewed and approved in advance by a more senior member of management.

Chance to Practice. Reviewing your performance appraisal ratings with your boss in advance, particularly those that have a high probability of generating an adversarial reaction, may give you the chance to plan your response if the employee acts in a defensive and challenging manner. It gives you the opportunity to say, ‘‘I think Marty may respond very negatively to this review, boss. Let me tell you about what I think she may say and how I’m planning to respond. I’d like to get any suggestions that you have.’’

Hot Tip

If your boss recommends any changes in the narrative you have written or the ratings you have decided on, you will have more insight into your boss’s way of thinking in an important area. That is always valuable.