How do I start the appraisal discussion with an individual who has a great deal of experience and has worked for the company much longer than I have?
The process is essentially the same as it is with anyone else.
The fact that a subordinate is older—or younger, or a different religion, or a different shoe size—is irrelevant. Age, religion, and shoe sizes don’t correlate with performance, and that’s the only thing that the appraiser needs to be concerned with.
But appraisers sometimes inappropriately defer to the individual who has been around for many years—the old-timer who years ago bounced the CEO on his knee when the company’s founder brought him to the office as a three-year-old child. True, longevity and organizational memory are virtues, but performance is what counts in performance appraisal.
The fact is that as the manager, you are the individual’s boss. Even though Charlie may have been around since Noah and can tell you how things were run long before you were born, you have the responsibility of assessing and reviewing his performance.
The best way to deal with the highly experienced individual is to get right to the point at the start of the appraisal discussion: ‘‘Frank, you’ve been through this drill many times before. Let’s not waste any time on small talk. How do you think your department compares with where it was last year?’’ Then shut up and listen, and proceed as you would with anybody else.