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Set Expectations for Your Assistant’s Performance Review

For many professional women, conducting performance appraisals can be a daunting process. You want to provide your administrative assistant with the feedback needed to advance his or her career, yet you don’t want to damage morale or diminish the person’s enthusiasm. Consider these tips before conducting your next evaluation:

Don’t surprise the person. Provide input throughout the year so there won’t be any surprises when it’s time for a review. If the individual needs to improve in a certain area, for example, don’t wait six months until the formal evaluation to let your assistant know. Your immediate feedback will help fix the problematic behavior before it becomes a habit.
Reinforce company values. Someone who is clear about expectations and how his or her daily contributions tie into the company’s goals will have the best chance of being successful. During your preparation, determine key business objectives to discuss during the appraisal process. This will help clarify your assistant’s role and how the person’s work fits into your firm’s “big picture.”
Consider a self-evaluation. You may want to ask your assistant to assess his or her own strengths and weaknesses prior to the review. This not only gives the individual an opportunity to examine his or her performance and career path but also provides you insight into the person’s perceptions and goals.
Deliver negative feedback diplomatically. If you must address a performance problem or discuss a person’s weaknesses, consider ways of doing so without demoralizing the employee. For example, offering suggestions for how he or she can improve in specific areas can keep the person optimistic about future success. Be sure to comment on your assistant’s positive attributes as well. Encouragement is the best incentive for improvement. 
Performance reviews are a great opportunity for opening the lines of communication and learning what motivates your assistant. With the right approach, they can be meetings both of you look forward to attending.

Written originally for by Dave Willmer