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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Thanks For The Memories

A recent gratifying conversation with an old subordinate got me reflecting about others I've supervised over my working life. Man, do I miss supervision - NOT!!

How many performance assessments have you been responsible for over your working life? Supervision has many definitions. But unless you've been eyeball-to-eyeball with an adult doing their performance assessment, I submit your supervisory mettle has yet to be thoroughly tested. Many people have trouble telling their own children they've done something less than extraordinary, let alone telling another adult their job performance is worthy of a "B" or (gasp!) a "C". Until you've been faced with an adult who rejects the idea of bell curve distributions (i.e. not everyone always deserves an "A" for job performance), call it babysitting, not supervising. Significantly compounding this problem: The appalling number of cowardly supervisors who give nothing but "A's" to avoid conflict, remain popular, and lessen their workload.

And as difficult as honest (vs. perfunctory) performance assessment discussions can be, that same conversation with my old subordinate also reminded me of a supervisory situation I've faced and wish on no one. In my view, a person in the position of being forced to tell an adult they no longer have a job who doesn't struggle mightily delivering that news does not have the empathy to be an effective supervisor in the first place.

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