Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Raising the Bar on Manager Performance Evaluations

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Raising the Bar on Manager Performance Evaluations

Article excerpt

The following is a preview of one of the topics to be covered during Leadership Training Institute seminars at the Congress of Cities in Charlotte, N.C. "Effective Governance: Secrets of Evaluating Your City Manager" will take place on Tuesday, December 6.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a newly elected local government official, you will soon be conducting a performance evaluation for your manager. Are you are looking forward to this "communication" or do you have a certain sense of foreboding? How you answer this question may hinge largely on the efforts you and your council have taken in defining a process that works for you as an employer.

The council-manager relationship is a fragile one, laden with variables that can lead to sudden shifts and considerable change over time.

And while some councils believe that each member providing "on the spot" performance feedback to the manager may suffice, nothing can ever substitute for a formal and comprehensive performance evaluation process.

As any council member or manager who has ever conducted or received a performance evaluation knows, the process can sometimes be uncomfortable, frustrating and/or disappointing.

When it comes to evaluating the performance of a manager, there are no standard models to follow.

Many processes are established merely as a result of a manager's initiative or recommendation.

Others are a combination of methods that have been institutionalized over time but are seldom reviewed for their effectiveness.

Still others are a product of a thoughtful and deliberative process that reflects the importance the council places on both communication and the council-manager relationship.

There are two fundamental aspects of performance that must be accounted for in any legitimate performance evaluation process, technical and behavioral.

Technical performance deals with the extent, efficiency and effectiveness with which specific goals and expectations have been met. …

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