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Lesson 9. Preparing for the Meeting > The 30-Second Recap - Pg. 50

Preparing for the Meeting 50 Critical Style Employees who are naturally critical don't accept criticism well. Often, they are plagued with low self-esteem and little self-confidence. When praised, they tend to discount the praise as flattery because they don't see themselves in that light. I witnessed one case where the employee's self- doubt was so severe that he ascribed selfish motives to the boss's words of encouragement. Favorable ratings are usually a pleasant surprise to employees who exhibit the critical style. How- ever, the ground gained by these ratings and celebratory comments is often lost when the discussion turns to opportunities for improvement. Tip Don't offer performance improvement suggestions to employees who exhibit the critical style. Rather, ask them what would make them better at what they do. Then use their com- ments as an opportunity to praise both their current performance and their insights into how they might improve. Blending Styles Understanding your employee's style will help you anticipate her reactions. The ability to predict behavior gives you a couple of advantages in the meeting. First, it removes the element of surprise that often hinders your effectiveness. Second, when you get the reaction you anticipated, your self- confidence gets a boost and you feel more comfortable. When you're comfortable, it's easier to make your employee comfortable. Understanding your style allows you to narrow the gap between your style and the employee's. If the employee has an overly optimistic encouraging style and you have a neutral style, you're going to have to increase your enthusiasm so that you don't disappoint the employee. If your employee has a critical style and you are an encourager, you know that your praise must be well founded or the employee will suspect you of, heaven forbid, flattery. Actually, she'll suspect insincerity, which will cost you credibility in your future dealings with her. These are examples of why it's so important to blend your style with those of your employees. This is one of the more difficult aspects of performance appraisals. It's also one of the most important to the success of the appraisal meeting. The 30-Second Recap When preparing for the appraisal meeting · Evaluate your style: encouraging, neutral, or critical. · Evaluate your employee's style using the same three categories: encouraging, neutral, or critical. · Use your understanding of both styles to anticipate employees' reactions and plan your respon- ses.