Showing You Care: On Paper

Effective leadership is dependent upon being an effective communicator.  Being effective doesn’t mean just making sure you’re understood in person, it also means being understood by a neutral person unfamiliar with you and your team.  Over the years I have learned to appreciate and see the diversity of individuals under my care. For the most part, each person I’ve worked with has performed admirably and it’s a leader’s job to ensure that their efforts get the recognition they deserve. Recently, we’ve conducted a round of formal evaluations for several members of our workforce. They’ve worked hard and they’ve made a difference.

As leaders advance in their careers they realize that writing awards and formal evaluations is a big part of taking care of their workforce. While each organization may have their own nuances in their forms and writing styles, the underpinnings I use to communicate when I write evaluations follows a basic formula, unique, quantifiable, & improves the organization.

UNIQUE: Looking for an employees’ unique contribution requires that a leader be familiar with them as individuals, not as a group. This part of the write up needs to communicate what the person did that was different from others in their section and peer group. Where did they make a difference that no one else did?

QUANTIFIABLE: On this surface this looks like a numbers game, but it’s much more than that. This dimension forces the leader to work beyond phrases like “numerous” and “countless hours” to actually get at the meat of the employee’s contribution. Saying countless hours shows that the leader only views his employees effort, not the results for that effort. Not all quantifiable have to be large numbers a 2% cost savings across a large organization can translate to a huge price tag at the end.

IMPROVE THE ORGANIZATION: This dimension is where the leader is able to communicate and confirm that the employees effort moved the organization closer to its goal. Here our organization is measured in accurate and efficient throughput of our applicants. Each member here helps us achieve that goal.

This formula isn’t the perfect solution for each service, but it is my preferred solution when called to write awards and evaluations. Using this as a baseline has made it easier to translate what the person has done to whatever format is required to get them the recognition they deserve.

I strongly believe that good leadership isn’t just effectively achieving the organization’s goals, it’s making sure that the team that creates those results are recognized for it.