I wrote a piece for the Training Journal last month on appraisals (if you're interested back issues of my articles can be found here). In short, I suggested that one of the reasons that appraisals are such unproductive affairs is the compression ratio - trying to squeeze a year's feedback into one hour or sometimes one word. A very interesting conversation yesterday further refined the thought.
I made two suggestions in my article. First, rather than provide feedback once a year for sixty minutes, try to provide the opportunity for feedback sixty times a year for one minute. Second rather than focusing on the reducing the negatives, look to grow the positives.
So a frequent, positive and light touch...
Anyone see the parallels with plate spinning?