Most leadership activities are directly or indirectly related to achieving goals and meeting human needs. Planning, organizing, staffing and leading are intended to help accomplish the goals of an organization. Feedback regarding the performance of individual members of the organization provides evidence that this is in fact taking place and that the skills, knowledge and aptitudes of employees are compatible with and aligned with the intentions of the organization. Individual performance appraisals are essential to both organizational leadership and management.
Virtually all managers in contemporary organizations are responsible for the periodic appraisal of their subordinates. Furthermore, in most cases, they are responsible for the ongoing development of these subordinates, based on the results of this appraisal. Whenever there are plans, and whenever there is delegation of authority and accountability, feedback and evaluation are necessary. Performance appraisal is an essential check of other leadership and management functions. Management is not a single activity, it is a system, and performance appraisals play a major role in engaging and correcting this system. Failure in one part of the system affects all the other areas because they are inextricably linked and interdependent.
Performance Appraisal: Essential but Flawed
These are noble sentiments and they seem to be of obvious pragmatic value. Furthermore, they speak to the traditional 20th Century emphasis on equitable treatment of all employees and to the need for timely and systematic performance appraisals as a central component of any management system. Yet, performance appraisal is in deep trouble in many contemporary organizations:i
The Society of Human Resource Management concluded that over 90 percent of appraisal systems are unsuccessful, and a 1993 survey by Development Dimensions Incorporated found that most employers expressed “overwhelming” dissatisfaction with their performance management (PM) systems. . . . In fact, there is so much displeasure with performance appraisal (PA) systems that the very term PA has been virtually censored from our vocabulary and has been replaced with the moniker performance management (PM) systems.