Performance Reviews and Faking It

Should we fix the performance review process or throw it out?

As interesting as this debate is, the reality is that most of us–regardless of our role (HR, employee, manager) and despite our own personal philosophies–are stuck with “what is”  for the moment. The annual  review process is probably not going anywhere any time soon at the majority of organizations.

So while you’re working for change, make the best of what you have.

One way to do that is to be authentic and truthful in your appraisal of your team. For one thing, don’t over-inflate the scores.  Don’t fake it, in other words.

I’ll phrase this as delicately as I can, but we all probably have a friend who happened upon what [in the heat of the moment] seemed like the perfect and safe response to the pressure of certain expected responses  relating to their partner’s romantic performance:


But of course, what gets us off the hook for the moment (and what originally seems like a Einstein-like brainwave) quickly backfires. Faking it might work for a single encounter but is disastrous in an ongoing relationship. In fact, when you fake it  in a romantic or work relationship, you have skirted the issue and perpetuated what is broken. You have ensured you’ll receive more of what doesn’t work, what disappoints you, what doesn’t meet your expectations.  You have just painted yourself into a very disappointing, limiting corner; one from which it is difficult and extremely awkward to extricate oneself.

To move to another more functional place, you will have to explain that your original enthusiastic feedback was not accurate. You’ll have to re-set expectations while  managing  the other party’s anger, confusion and mistrust.

Good luck with that.

In a romantic relationship, faking it primarily affects a couple. But at work, it also impacts the team, the department, the organization, the organization’s success and the bottom line.

So as difficult and awkward as it is, if your employee or partner is not rocking your world, do them a favor and communicate that reality. Don’t pretend everything’s amazing when it’s not. Don’t avoid the truth, which only relegates you to more of the same.

In other words, don’t fake it.

photo by:   PUNKassPHOTOS

Leave a Reply