Category Archives: Appraisal/Assessment




*A little boy went to a telephone booth which was at the cash counter of a store and dialed a number.

The store-owner observed and listened to the conversation:

Boy : “Lady, Can you give me the job of cutting your lawn?
Woman : (at the other end of the phone line) “I already have someone to cut my lawn.”

Boy : “Lady, I will cut your lawn for half the price than the person who cuts your lawn now.”

Woman : I’m very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting my lawn.

Boy : (with more perseverance) “Lady, I’ll even sweep the floor and the stairs of your house for free.

Woman : No, thank you.With a smile on his face, the little boy replaced the receiver. The store-owner, who was listening to all this, walked over to the boy.

Store Owner : “Son… I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job.”

Boy : “No thanks,
Store Owner : But you were really pleading for one.
Boy : No Sir, I was just checking my performance at
the job I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady I was talking to!” *

** This is called self Appraisal”** Give your best and the world comes to you!!!!!



Life around Strength by Buckingham et al


Sherie S. took a pragmatic approach to building her life around her strengths. Sherie is now a successful doctor, but years ago during medical school she made a rather disturbing discovery, she did not like being around sick people. SInce a doctor who does not like sick people seems as incongruous as an investor who does not risk, she began to question her chosen career. Rather than bemoaning her poor choice, however she took stock of her patterns of thinking and feeling, and gradually came to three realizations. She did indeed enjoy healing people, just not very sick people, she was driven by a constant need for achievement that was best satisfied when she could see tangible and regular proof of progress, these two distinct patterns could prove surprisingly powerful if she made her speciality dermatology.

Now, she plays to her strengths everyday. Her patients are rarely gravely ill, their illnesses are tangible, and their progress toward recovery is evident on their skin for all to see.

Peter Principle & People skills by Daniel Goleman


Peter Principle says- People are promoted to their level of incompetence. A person who is promoted because of his expertise (other than managing people) finds himself at a new level, where many or most duties revolve around managing people, not a technical skill. This means the working world is peppered with bad bosses.

The Peter Principle does much to explain why so many people who are abrasive, thoughtless and otherwise interpersonally inept are in so many positions of power in organisations everywhere.

—I see it all the time in science labs. A top executive leaves and you immediately turn to the best scientist as the replacement.

It’s as if the Chichago Bulls lost a coach and appointed Michael Jordan to replace him. He’s a brilliant basketball player, of course, but the game comes so naturally to him that he may not be very good at coaching other players-he probably never even thinks about how he does what he does.

—To avoid the problem, we set up two tracks, recognising that some people are excellent technical professionals and like their work, but terrible managers and dislike management as a career. Without the people skills they would never succeed at the top levels of management. We tried to spare them the failure of  peter principle by keeping them in a professional track.

Confusing Bosses


This has happened to me many a times and this week this happened with another colleague of mine. He had got some design approved by our boss 2 months ago. The design was approved verbally, so there was no proof as such, but normally that is how it is. On the basis of that approval, the agency made several pages running into hundreds. And suddenly one day this week, the boss while reviewing the final version said she does not like the design. When colleague politely submitted that he had got it approved. Boss did not budge. We were discussing later how such a situation arises many times between boss and junior. I think this must be happening to many of you too. The net result always seems to be cliched-boss is always right. You end up adjusting to this but you do get demotivated.

At times, seniors will thoroughly check the final version and once there is any lapse they will say, I just had a look, you were supposed to check in detail. But if things are smooth, they will run to grab the credit. I do agree that senior/boss is not supposed to check and micro manage but then what is the point of checking. However you can’t say that to their face.

My ex-boss was showing some media queries to CEO. An earlier draft of these replies was shown to CEO by my present boss. In both the cases drafts had been made by me. When boss came back after meeting CEO, he told me-Did you not check the replies thoroughly, CEO wants the replies in a different manner. Here again, boss had checked and edited the replies but I could not say that. Aniways there was no factual error, but CEO wanted some additional figures to be given. I added, boss checked and gave to CEO office and left for the day. My ex-boss who is in CEO office again got some changes done and showed it to CEO. He came out with minor changes and asked- How does CEO know that you made the earlier replies. I was taken aback. I guessed and told- there were some data missing in earlier replies so when boss showed to CEO and CEO pointed out, boss might have   mentioned my name that he erred, to put blame on me. Ex-boss, who is otherwise very anti-present-boss and politicking always suddenly jumped to his side and said- No no, your present boss is not like this, he will not backbite, he might have mentioned in passing. Even I was surprized as at CEO level, bosses can not shirk responsibility by taking junior’s name. So here also boss and ex-boss confused me. I did not pester ex-boss much as to how CEO told my name in what context. Because this ex-boss has this habit of using CEO name to motivate me. After a while when I got to know of his lies, this trick stopped working for me though.

Coming back to present boss, for last 2-3 days, he has been very temperamental. Normally he is very kool and chilled-out. But day before, he shouted at me for a small thing, and repeated the same thing yesterday and today also. And you know I don’t like shouting bosses and people. Let us see if he makes it a habit.

This is the same boss who downgraded my appraisal rating and gave my happy friend (only person in department with whose better rating I was rather happy not hurt, though last time both of us got best and equal rating. ) better rating than me.  Then he asked me to sit till 9 pm to give a reply. How can be bosses so careless and demanding if they don’t think you are best quality material. So I tried to think of many reasons why I was given lower rating and one reason I could think of was boss wanted to empower women, and encourage youngsters. But then boss should expect and ask more from the best performers, specially the monotonous and overtime, late-sitting jobs. Maybe I am at fault somewhere, as I don’t crib and shout as others do. When will I Learn? Moreover, I am now taking extra precaution with my happy friend that she should not feel I am upset because she got better rating. I am not upset with her rating, I am upset with mine, and there is a difference. But as I told her I am careful as I am caring towards her. I don’t want her to think even for a second that I am envious or jealous or angry with her, which I am not. Hope I succeed.

Our darker side


An article by Angela Garvey Hammond on Insead knowledge portal appealed me, and here is the part I liked

Your career flourishes, you’re on your way up and then the cracks begin to show, along with the “dark side of your personality”. Understanding and managing this, Jarrett says, is “a key skill to moving from executive management to leadership”.

Generally agreed negative areas include: “poor interpersonal relationships; being aloof or arrogant; an inability to build a team or cohesion; an inability to manage one’s context or differences with upper management or other stakeholders; over-used strength; and failure to meet business objectives due to betraying trust or being overly ambitious.”

Jarrett goes on to look at work on Attachment theory (by Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby**) and their basic idea that adults develop attachment styles based on how they were treated as children themselves. “The implication for executives is that the fault lines for derailment are set a long time before people get to sit at the boardroom table. They occur in the roots of our childhood and in the early years we develop attachment that sit, waiting, in the dark shadows.”

I don’t know but I almost always end up finding all the negative traits in me. Poor interpersonal relationships to stat with. I used to think of this as my best quality. But in last few months, my experience has been different. I was told few of my juniors have been telling bad things about me to their friends. So I failed somewhere in revealing my real side to these juniors, so I failed in interpersonal relationship. Last year my immediate boss changed and a new boss came. Earlier I was reporting to HOD, and now I am reporting to a person 2 years and 1 level senior to me. That in itself is a demotivator. His attitude towards me further aggravated the problem, and it ended in cold war like situation between us. He has remarked in my appraisal that I need to be given training on interpersonal relations. So here too I failed. Hmmm, time to retune myself.

Being aloof is also my second nature. As I keep sitting on my seat the whole day. Most of the people enjoy bitching which I am not interested in. And also I find it a waste of my time and others’ time  chit-chatting in office. This aloofness is also taken as arrogance by many.

Well till now I used to think that I built great teams and was good at cohesion. But these 2-3 juniors who badmouthed me shook my confidence. So here too I am at fault. Poor me.

Differences with upper management, as mentioned I have started to have now, after 15 years of workex.

Over-used strength is one area where I can claim to be not guilty. That goes with my non-assertive and adjusting nature.

Overly ambitious again I am not, I err on the side of caution rather.

What about you?

Good and bad me


I have been analysing my weaknesses a lot on this blog, so I thought today let me brag a little bit. As in the good things people have said about me from time to time.

Early this year I received an award for good performance, which earned me many enemies within and outside the department. Some thought I did not deserve the award, some thought they deserved it more than me, and so on. So award earned me many enemies. But a few good friends made comments which touched my heart so sharing

-Many people do hard work in company, but there are few people who do it with a smile. You are one of the latter, so well-deserved award. Genuine praise this brought more smiles on my face. I admire and respect this senior person a lot because of his nature. I like his working principle, or say conflict-conversation principle, that never raise your voice and never let smile fade away from your face, then you can say anything you want to other person, without complicating things further. True that. (SA)

-Another senior lady officer remarked- After many years I feel the award has gone to a deserving person. She is a firebrand lady and most people avoid rubbing her the wrong way. Coming from her it meant a lot. Specially considering that even I was starting to doubt the importance of the award, when my name was recommended three times earlier, but other people got the award. Some of them were really good, but not all. (TU)

-My happy friend remarked that it has restored my trust in the system. Kool. I know she is one of the rare persons who would have been happy for me, inspite of she not getting the award herself. At least I think so. She has called me a saint many a times, when I do some foolish sentimental shit at times. And that after working for some more years with me, she will also become calm and patient like me. She did not mean it as a compliment though. Well, rightly so, since I think of her as my assertiveness guru. Trying to learn and observe her from this angle, though she is 10 years younger than me. But age should not be a bar when it comes to learning from people. Let us see how assertive I can become. She has also said that people don’t realise my good intentions and doubt my motives. That also felt good. Well at least I have a colleague who I can completely trust and who can be and is my sounding board on office matters. (SS)

-Another very senior officer remarked that there are many such occasions but only on few occasions, you feel glad and happy. This is one of them. Such specific compliments do make your day. (KK)

-Last but not the least, my ex-boss, whose many bad habits I have mentioned in my earlier posts. But I do feel from heart that it was he who persistently tried for my award and made it possible, even after he had left the department. I shall always be grateful to him for this and the fact that he is the one who single-handedly built up my image as a competent executive by giving me exposure.

-My present boss also did not hamper me getting the award by signing the award nomination form. So I am grateful to him, though next year the best performer has been downgraded to high performer by the same boss. So award proved a curse for me in that sense, as boss might have thought that he got award last year, so let us downgrade him this year. Though I have thought of other possible reasons for my downgrading also like

I did not adjust with my immediate superior (though in my view he is more to blame, my problem was not sucking up) so he might have influenced the grading by talking and bitching about me to top boss. Though he did give me okay marks and did not screw my appraisal.

I did not prioritise jobs in tune with big boss which I see other people doing. I had my own priorities, foolish me. I am trying to correct that problem.

I gave more exposure to my team at my own cost. I let them go to big boss for different jobs. So maybe boss thought they are doing all the work and I am not doing anything. Well I will still keep on doing that but will find ways to showcase my role also.

I got to know through rumour mill that I was being seen as a person who delegates all jobs to juniors and does not do anything himself. So more close to above point. Working on it. Need to correct perception about me.

I am seen as protege of ex-boss and close to him. Ex-boss also aggravates the problem by involving me in complicated jobs where our department is concerned. So this I can not avoid even if I want to. Though I have tried to convey to my big boss that my loyalties are to the organisation and not to anybody else.

Oops, I ended up criticising me again.

Excessive need to be me by Marshall Goldsmith


Each of us has a pile of behaviors that we define as “me.” These are the behaviors, both positive and negative, that we think of as our unalterable essence.

While many of these “me” behaviors may be positive (e.g., “I am smart” or “I am hard working”), some may be negative (e.g., “I am a bad listener” or “I am always late”).

If we buy into our behavior definition of “me,” which most humans do, we can learn to excuse almost any annoying action by saying, “That’s just the way I am!”

Some years ago, I worked with a CEO who was generally regarded as a great leader of people but was seen as lacking in the ability to provide positive recognition. As we reviewed his 360-degree feedback report, he snorted, “What do you want me to do, go around praising people who don’t deserve it? I don’t want to look like a phony!”

“Is that your excuse for not giving recognition?” I asked. “You don’t want to look like a phony?”

“Yes,” he replied. He then went into a tirade about why he shouldn’t give recognition:

  1. He had high standards — and people didn’t always meet them.
  2. He didn’t like to hand out praise indiscriminately — because this cheapened the value of praise when it was deserved.
  3. He believed that singling out individuals could weaken the team.

I asked him, “Why can’t doing a great job of providing positive recognition be you? It’s not immoral, illegal, or unethical is it?”

“No,” he conceded.

“Will it make people feel better?”


“Will they perform better as a result of this well-deserved positive recognition?”


“So please explain to me — why aren’t you doing it?”

He laughed and replied, “Because it wouldn’t be ME!”

That was the moment when change became possible. He realized that he was not only hurting his employees’ and company’s chances for success — he was hurting his own chance for success. He realized that he could shed his “excessive need to be me” and not be a phony.

The payoff was enormous. Within a year his scores on giving recognition were in line with his other positive scores on leadership.

Source- HBR blogs

When I get better at….. exercise


An HBR blog by Marshall Goldsmith had me thinking, here is what the blog said:

… He has a wonderful exercise that helps people isolate the pattern that makes the most sense to change, because it helps people figure out the benefits of change. This is how he helps people decide whether change is worth it: Five to eight people sit around a table, and each person selects one practice to change. One person begins the exercise by saying: “When I get better at…” and completes the sentence by mentioning one benefit that will accompany this change. For example, one person may say: “When I get better at being open to differing opinions, I will hear more great ideas.”

After everyone has had a chance to discuss their specific behavior and the first benefit, the cycle begins again. Now each person mentions a second benefit that may result from changing the same behavior, then a third, continuing usually for six to eight rounds. Finally, participants discuss what they have learned and their reactions to the exercise.

Nathaniel and I were facilitators at a large conference that included many well-known leaders from corporations, nonprofits, the government, and the military. The man sitting next to me was a high-ranking military leader directly responsible for thousands of troops. He also was extremely judgmental and seemed to be proud of it. For example, when conference participants discussed the topic of character, he said: “I respect people with real character — and organizations, like mine, with real values. I don’t believe in this situational crap!”

When we began Nathaniel’s exercise, our military friend chose: “When I become less judgmental…” as his behavior to change. I was skeptical about his sincerity and thought his participation in the exercise would be interesting to observe. True to my expectations, the first time around he coughed and grunted a sarcastic comment rather than talk about a real benefit. The second time around he was even more cynical. Then something changed. When he described a third potential benefit, he stopped being sarcastic. Several rounds later, he had tears in his eyes, and said: “When I become less judgmental, maybe my children will speak to me again.”

Since that day, I have conducted this exercise with several thousand people. Many start with benefits that are “corporately correct,” such as: “This change will help my company make more money,” and finally end with benefits that are more human, such as: “This change will make me a better person.” I will never forget one hard-driving executive who chose: “When I get better at letting go” as the behavior he should work on. His first benefit was that his direct reports would take more responsibility. His final benefit was that he would probably live to celebrate his 60th birthday.

Now, it’s your turn to pick a behavior pattern that you may want to change. Complete the sentence: “When I get better at…” over and over again. Listen closely as you recite potential benefits. You will be amazed at how quickly you can determine whether this change is worth it for you.

Well as the blog asked me to I thought what would I have said and I came up with

When I get better at asking for what I deserve at workplace

I will not be taken for granted.

My team will also feel good about me when I expect their undivided working with me, and no pooling.

I will not be jealous or envious of other people getting what I did not.

I will be enjoying better facilities.

I will be seen as confident and assertive.

I will not be trampled upon by others.

I will not be a victim of office politics.

I will get my due.

I will feel motivated to work harder if I get what I ask for.

I will ensure a place and image for myself in organisation.

I will be able to speak about my work and responsibilities while asking for what I deserve.

With a better self-image, I will project a better image.

Wow, listing really feels good.

My appraisal rating


Our organisation has recently started a new system of transparency in performance review. So the marks given by my reporting officer and reviewing officer as well as the overall ranking.

I was last year ranked as excellent performer (EP) and this year I have been downgraded as high performer (HP). My reporting officer is angry with me so I expected something like this, though he does not have much say in overall ranking. Moreover the marks he gave me were also not very bad. So I spoke to reviewing officer, as to how come I was downgraded. He did not tell me any weaknesses and said would do so later. But said- You are good I know, but the grading will not affect your promotion. I could also say that then why give others EP, but did not because last year my review was done by a different reviewing officer.

I could know till now that EP rating has been given to my happy friend. SO personally I am happy for her. Professionally also she is in a different grade so not competing with me. But some corner of my mind is still not okay with me not getting  EP. As in last year myself and happy friend both got EP. So why not this year. But then this is not in my hands. I would have been more happier if I had also got EP, though if one asks me I agree if any other person deserves EP, besides me, it’s my happy friend.

One part of my mind is kool with it though, in the sense that I can now try to be a bit casual in my work approach as per HP standard, not EP standard. And if it affects my promotion, I can always change to 9-to-5 mode. But this may be just momentary outburst of emotions. Additionally I could know of EP grade of my happy friend only, so I am at peace. If I get to know that some other people have also got EP grade, then my fuse will blow. Though I won’t be able to do anything.

Some juniors are making fun of the review system, because marks given by reporting and reviewing officer don’t seem to have a direct linkage to overall grade.   One junior asked me jokingly, why should I listen to you if marks given by you can not get me EP or HP grade. She was right in a way. Another junior came to me and asked why I am rated as Average performer (AP). I told him I have given you best marks. So please ask other seniors. One other junior is happy that he has been upgraded from AP to HP. Though I have no role in upgradation and downgradation of rating.

One good point is that people are able to judge the two-faced behaviour of seniors.

Funnily, there are instances where 98 marks is given HP, and 92 marks is given EP. Best way to demotivate employees.

Will share more as I hear people’s comments.

Inspiring leaders


Being out of topics, to write on, I visited HBR blogs site to get ideas, and found an interesting blog on leadership qualities, which mentioned being inspirational to the team as one of the 3 main qualities. The blog described inspirational leaders as

They set stretch goals with their team. They spent time developing their subordinates. They engaged in highly collaborative behavior. They encouraged those about them to be more innovative.

Other things we identified were somewhat less specific and less tangible. These inspirational leaders were more adept at making emotional connections with their subordinates, for instance. They were better at establishing a clear vision. They were more effective in their communication and willing to spend more time communicating. They were ardent champions of change. They were perceived as effective role models within the organization.

Now I can’t change bosses-for good or bad. I can’t change peers also. But I can try to be inspirational to 4-5 team members who are reporting to me. So I tried to assess myself on these points.

I do set goals with the team, but tricky people here are likes of tech guru. Whatever goal or timeline you give him, he works at his own pace. I have reminded him thousand times. He says sorry, I will take care in future, but forgets again. One other thing I noticed is that when my boss or the top boss give some work directly to him, he does it jumping and running. I don’t know if there is some weakness in me, or it is a problem in him. I can’t tell him directly that why don’t you do my work, and start jumping when other seniors give you work. Most likely he will go to those seniors and bitch about me. So till  I find a solution, I will keep reminding. Other optionj is doing the job yourself, but then that is not management, right.

As for developing subordinates, I have started sharing my feedback with them on a regular basis-positive as well as negative. But I have been told my style was rough and some juniors did not like it. So I am working on polishing my feedback style, and feedback continues.

Collaborative behaviour is too big a term for me. I give them freedom to get noticed in front of seniors, and of course seniors also encourage these youngsters. Though some juniors take it as if they have stopped reporting to me and are directly reporting to the senior. I let the juniors err and learn on their own, and don’t jump in at the slightest hint of a problem. Hope that counts as collaborative behaviour. Though one junior told me that at times I don’t help even when asked for, so I am doubly cautious on this issue now.

I do encourage team to be more innovative and find out newer and smarter ways of doing things. So I will give full marks to myself here.

Emotional connections, hmm. I thought of myself good at that and some juniors also thought that. But I have seen some juniors like tech guru taking advantage of this familiarity and ignoring or neglecting my instructions.  Then there have been some juniors who did not like my snapping on some occasions. So I need to learn grace under pressure. And my present boss has written needs training on inter-personal skills in my assessment. So I am not pretty sure on this point now.

Vision, I do whatever best is required at my level, at least I think so. Ditto for communication and change champions.

So enough self-praise for today. Rest some other day.