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It is January 2016 which means it is appraisal season!

I really enjoy the appraisal process as it is an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and plan for the future.

The number one rule I always try to follow when it comes to appraisals is that there are ‘no surprises’.

I think it is tempting to use the process to bring out all those issues you have had with a particular person throughout the year and lay them at their door. You’ll probably feel better for doing this, you’ve given the other person some feedback and added value as a manager / leader.

In the meantime, the person receiving the feedback, whether it is positive or negative, is probably thinking, “Where did that come from?”

Providing feedback that isn’t timely leads to confusion, frustration and a lack of trust.

If you don’t use feedback as a tool, the appraisal isn’t the time to start. If you want to start, my advice would be to store this up for the next time an event occurs where you can then share that feedback (either positive or negative) in a more timely way.

If you’ve already given the feedback the appraisal can be used as a reminder and a check-in to see how things have developed since the feedback was given.

Appraisals can be a really powerful tool for increasing engagement and motivation, just make sure there are no alarms and no surprises!