3 Big Ideas to Revolutionize Performance Conversations

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Authored by

NLI Staff
Performance management can drum up some pretty intense emotions. Fortunately, leaders can use neuroscience to make it more effective.

It’s a bit of an understatement to say work has gotten more complex over the past century. In fact, nearly everything has changed.

Modern work looks a lot less like factory workers assembling widgets in an assembly line, and a lot more like people forming teams and sharing ideas. When it comes to performance management, this means leaders now play a much larger role as coaches, not just managers. They uplift and support, rather than bark and direct.

The NeuroLeadership Institute’s research has found numerous areas where science plays a pivotal role in shaping these performance conversations. Below we’ve compiled three different use cases where psychology and neuroscience can guide leaders’ behavior.

The Hidden Leverage of Feedback

Feedback is essential for growth, whether it’s a single-celled amoeba or a multinational company. Neuroscience shows how to do it right. And it begins with asking for, not merely giving, feedback.

Over time, organizations that take up the strategy should expect to have regular feedback conversations more often, which means avoiding errors earlier and innovating more rapidly.

Leaders May Be Sabotaging Their Performance Reviews and Don’t Even Know It

As they exist today, the typical performance reviews are overwhelmingly biased. Leaders are more inclined to look for information that confirms their existing beliefs — as fast as possible — than they are to gather a range of opinions and reflect carefully on the facts. These lapses in decision-making can affect how employees are assigned tasks, promoted, and compensated — potentially for years to come.

Use Growth Mindset to Conduct Smarter Performance Reviews

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance at a first impression. However, we also know that first impressions can be misleading. By using the language of growth mindset throughout a performance review, we can reduce the threat imposed by the review process on our team members.

Celebrate growth, effort, and successful journeys across the review period, and frame weaknesses as areas to develop and improve in the coming months.

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