Nobody looks forward to staff performance appraisal; especially not the staff. Human nature isn’t conducive to judgment, and good leaders don’t inherently like judging people, either. Nonetheless, in a business atmosphere, there’s no getting around this necessity. When it comes time to perform these appraisals, you want it to go as smooth as possible. So, you have to know your facts when it comes to human nature and how to handle people in these delicate types of situations. Having good leadership skills doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a ‘people person’ by nature. For instance, I admit that I’m not much of a people person at my core, but with my experience in leadership positions, I’ve had to learn people skills in order to be effective. When you’re not a ‘people person’, implementing these ‘people skills’, and conducting assessments properly can be more of a challenge, but luckily, there are ways to tackle the problem. #1 – Realistic Needs Assessment Training is a situation that calls for a lot of assessment; the trick is to be realistic in assessing these needs. Always remember that people are human and they make mistakes. People are not perfect and they are not computers. Even the most efficient and organized company will fall a little short of idealistic goals and standards. You need to account for some level of slippage here; otherwise, you’re just chasing unrealistic goals and making judgments based on unobtainable numbers. It’s also important to make sure that your employees know that this slippage is unavoidable, it will happen and it’s ok. But at the same time, don’t promote underachievement. Relate to them that being complacent is not tolerated. Workers should push themselves to reach goals that are out of reach. It’s always good to reach for the sun, but not to let one’s wings break in the process. #2 – Measure Interaction Proficiency Something that’s overlooked, in many cases, is the interaction between people within an organization. Teamwork can make or break a company. People need to be able to work well together. Workers must be open; personalities and philosophies may not align, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work towards a common goal. We are all human, people control whether the environment is helpful or full of stress and contention. When conducting appraisals, you need to have a personal touch; have a heart-to -heart with individuals, and let them speak their minds about other employees. Confidentiality is important here, but when serious issues arise, you must approach those individuals reported to be problematic. Find an effective way to let them know they have issues to work on and offer solutions. This is a tricky situation, because they will know “someone” complained about them, and if you handle this the wrong way, they can become defensive and upset as a result. #3 – Look Inward Sometimes you need to evaluate the leader- which means you. It’s hard to be unbiased when you do a self-evaluation, so it may be a good idea to appoint staff (outside your team) to talk to employees and find out any issues they may have with your leadership, your decisions and you as a person. You’re human too, and you can improve. This is especially true if you’re not a people person, it’s very easy to focus on the product and lose sight of the people. Always make an effort to keep the human element in mind. Staff performance appraisal is never a fun endeavor, but it’s a necessity. Often times a few little changes can make a big difference. I hope these tips will help make the process easy and effective. Good Luck!