“If I were to command a general to turn into a seagull, and if the general did not obey, that would not be the general’s fault. It would be mine,” said Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince.

With this in mind, be careful what you write in a performance review. A performance review is a formal evaluation of an employee’s job performance, not your own. It should be an opportunity for the employee and the manager to discuss the employee’s job duties, successes, and areas for improvement.

Here’s some advice for writing better performance reviews.

Prepare for the review: Gather all relevant documents and materials, including the employee’s job description, any performance goals or objectives, and any feedback or notes you have collected throughout the review period.

Set aside enough time: Plan to have the review meeting at a time when you can both focus and be uninterrupted.

Start with the positives: Begin the review by focusing on the employee’s strengths and successes. This will help set a positive tone for the rest of the review.

Discuss areas for improvement: After discussing the positives, address any areas where the employee can improve. Be specific and offer concrete examples.

Set goals for the future: Use the review as an opportunity to set goals for the employee’s future development. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Provide feedback on specific behaviors: Instead of just giving a general evaluation of the employee’s performance, focus on specific behaviors or actions that contributed to their successes or areas for improvement.

Be objective: Avoid making personal or subjective judgments about the employee. Focus on the facts and use concrete examples to support your evaluations.

Encourage open communication: Encourage the employee to share their thoughts and feelings about the review and their job in general. This will help foster an open and honest dialogue.

Follow up: After the review, make sure to follow up on any goals or action items discussed. This will help ensure that the employee is able to make progress and continue to improve.

Document the review: Make sure to document the review and keep a record of the employee’s performance and progress. This will be helpful for future reference and for any future performance reviews.

Overall, the key to writing a successful performance review is to be specific, objective, and constructive, and to focus on the employee’s strengths and areas for improvement. It is also important to establish clear goals and provide ongoing support and feedback to help the employee continue to grow and develop in their role.

Here are three examples of performance reviews:

Example 1:

Employee: John Doe
Position: Marketing Assistant
Review period: January 1 – June 30, 2022

Overall performance: Good


John has been a valuable asset to the marketing team, consistently meeting deadlines and producing high-quality work.
He has demonstrated strong problem-solving skills, coming up with creative solutions to challenges that have arisen.
John has taken initiative on several projects, showing a strong level of ownership and responsibility.

Areas for improvement:

John could improve his time management skills by better prioritizing tasks and allocating his time more effectively.
He could also benefit from improving his communication skills, particularly in terms of providing regular updates on his progress and asking for help when needed.

Goals for the future:

Improve time management skills by completing a time management workshop and regularly tracking and reviewing how time is spent on tasks.

Work on improving communication skills by seeking feedback from team members and actively seeking out opportunities to communicate with team members and other stakeholders.

Example 2:

Employee: Jane Smith
Position: Customer Service Representative
Review period: July 1 – December 31, 2021

Overall performance: Excellent


Jane has consistently provided excellent customer service, going above and beyond to ensure that our clients are happy and satisfied.
She has a strong work ethic and is always willing to put in extra effort to get the job done.
Jane has also shown strong leadership skills, taking on additional responsibilities and helping to train new team members.

Areas for improvement:

Jane could improve her ability to handle difficult or irate customers by seeking out additional training on conflict resolution and effective communication.

She could also benefit from improving her time management skills, particularly in terms of staying organized and prioritizing tasks.

Goals for the future:

Complete a training program on conflict resolution and effective communication to improve ability to handle difficult customers.

Develop a time management plan and regularly review and adjust as needed to improve organization and task prioritization.

Example 3:

Employee: Bob Johnson
Position: Sales Representative
Review period: January 1 – June 30, 2022

Overall performance: Needs improvement


Bob has a strong understanding of our product offerings and is able to effectively communicate the benefits to potential customers.

He is a team player and is always willing to help out his colleagues.

Areas for improvement:

Bob’s sales numbers have been consistently below target for the past six months. He needs to improve his ability to close deals and increase his sales volume.

He could also benefit from improving his time management skills and prioritizing his time more effectively to better focus on sales activities.

Goals for the future:

Attend a sales training program to improve ability to close deals and increase sales volume.

Develop a time management plan and regularly review and adjust as needed to improve organization and task prioritization.

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