Every business requires skilled, dedicated leadership. In a best-case scenario, you can build your existing talent up and develop leadership in-house. This allows you to achieve numerous mission-critical goals, including improving talent retention, reducing churn, enhancing engagement, and improving employee loyalty. It also allows you to reduce the costs and other challenges involved with recruiting and onboarding new talent.

Creating leaders in-house can be challenging, though. It requires a commitment to ongoing performance evaluations and reviews, but also an understanding of how leadership evaluation comments affect the outcome – in this case, the development of leadership capabilities. Actionable, accurate, specific leadership evaluation comments help build up employees, buoy their confidence, and expand on their strengths.

Unfortunately, many people do not understand which leadership evaluation comments are most effective and meaningful. This can lead to feedback that fails to achieve your goal, or, worse yet, damages an employee’s confidence or limits their ability to act on that feedback. In this post, we’ll explore some of the most important examples of both positive and negative leadership evaluation comments to drive evaluation success and improve takeaways.

Effective and Meaningful Leadership Evaluation Comments: Creating Leadership In-House

Overall Leadership Evaluation Comments

Positive

  • You consistently bring people together in pursuit of achieving company goals and objectives.
  • You set a strong example of what to do both in your team and across other departments.
  • You’re always willing to take on new challenges.
  • You always bring enthusiasm and confidence to anything you do within the organization.

Negative

  • You often struggle to find positive resolutions to disputes within your team/department.
  • You seem to lack enthusiasm for your job duties and responsibilities.
  • You struggle to address low morale within your team.
  • Complaints from customers/employees are not handled on a timely basis.

Leadership Evaluation Comments Regarding Group Performance

Positive

  • You use specific, deliverable exercises to strengthen your team.
  • You put employees together in a supportive, cooperative team format that fosters successful outcomes.
  • You show a winning attitude while consistently challenging your team to achieve more.
  • You treat all employees with respect and make your team members feel heard, seen, and respected.

Negative

  • You fail to take initiative to develop unique approaches to developing team members’ talents and strengths.
  • You struggle with providing orientation that contributes to team success.
  • You have not been able to achieve a department that is marked by a high degree of teamwork.
  • You have as yet been unable to inspire your team members to excel by looking at challenges in ways unique to them.

Leadership Evaluation Comments Regarding Making Decisions

Positive

  • You demonstrate a marked ability to use participative decision-making when it is appropriate.
  • You show an ability to base your decisions on facts rather than conjecture or “gut feel”.
  • You show sensitivity to time constraints when making decisions.
  • You are receptive to suggestions and ideas from others and encourage innovation and experimentation.

Negative

  • You have shown hesitance when making decisions, particularly when bound by tight deadlines.
  • You have shown questionable decision-making capabilities.
  • You often struggle to make decisions on time, even when they are relatively minor decisions.
  • You do not show a willingness to take ideas and feedback from others into consideration in the decision-making process.

Leadership Evaluation Comments Regarding Team Building

Positive

  • You have shown exemplary team-building capabilities across the board.
  • You regularly help people from different backgrounds and cultures work together in a cohesive, collaborative way.
  • You have shown an ability to strengthen team morale and cohesion.
  • You can accurately identify team members’ strengths and then build their roles around those areas.

Negative

  • You show little understanding of the importance of morale in the successful completion of projects.
  • You are unable to delegate effectively to others, creating conflict and delaying projects.
  • You have shown little ability to deal with disruptive employees and their impact on the team.
  • You show preferential treatment to certain employees, which undercuts performance and morale.

With the right phrases, you can deliver meaningful feedback that offers value to your developing leaders. You can accurately highlight positive traits, discuss shortcomings and areas in need of improvement, and more. However, delivering effective reviews requires more than just knowing the types of leadership evaluation comments to make. It is also important to follow some specific best practices that may break from the norm if you’re more used to giving employee evaluations rather than evaluating managers and leaders.

Leadership Evaluation Best Practices

As noted by Jay A. Conger and Robert M. Fulmer in Harvard Business Review, “While companies maintain meticulous lists of candidates who could at a moment’s notice step into the shoes of a key executive, an alarming number of newly minted leaders fail spectacularly, ill-prepared to do the jobs for which they supposedly have been groomed.” They go on to note a few such examples, including M. Douglas Ivestor of Coca-Cola, and Mattel’s Jill Barad.

Successfully preparing your leaders requires time, a commitment to train and develop them, and regular evaluations. Whether we’re discussing succession planning for the C-suite or other positions within the company, leadership evaluations are vital. It’s also important that you follow some specific best practices when delivering them.

Make It Actionable

It is important that feedback provided during the review is accurate, but also actionable. It should clearly identify the problem, whether that is a behavior, a lack of action, or something else. This then enables a wider discussion on how to make necessary changes (taking action).

Be Critical But Fair

Do not shy away from being critical in your leadership reviews. Even more than employees, leaders must be presented with an accurate picture of their performance, for good or ill. However, do not let the need to be critical lead to feedback being callous, cold, or destructive. Feedback can be critical and yet still be supportive and constructive.

Hold Them Accountable

When it comes to leaders in your organization, accountability must be the hallmark of success. Hold your leaders accountable for making strides toward improvements on things noted during performance reviews. If they fail to make improvements, find out why, and then take the appropriate action.

Building a Stronger Organization

With the leadership evaluation comments and review best practices discussed here, you should be better prepared to develop leaders in-house. That will empower succession planning and ensure that you always have the right talent in the most crucial places.

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