09/20/2013 09:53 am ET Updated Nov 20, 2013

Improving employee performance reviews

The term "performance management" often strikes fear in the hearts of supervisors and employees alike. They tend to think about the dreaded performance appraisal process and the formal system requirements that involve developing detailed standards and documentation. They also think about past conversations that were intended to provide constructive feedback but fell short of being useful.

Supervisors at all levels tend to worry about the process, but frequently overlook the fact that effective performance management has much more to do with building productive working relationships with your employees and less to do with the process requirements. Many employees actually long to have meaningful feedback on their day-to-day responsibilities and a discussion about their long-term aspirations and development.

Given demands for accountability and efficiency faced by federal leaders, we can do better. We need leaders to adopt strong performance management approaches to motivate the workforce, increase productivity and ensure high-quality services are being delivered to Americans. Those approaches, however, are about developing skills and establishing an environment that will engender real two-way communication and collaboration, build trust and provide a focus on the mission.