Mushroom Management, Wing-it or Nit Picker, Are your Performance Appraisals Getting Results?

Posted in : HR Updates on 30 January 2012
Linzi Conway
Key to Success Consultants
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Linzi Conway writes:

This article is about getting the right results from your Performance Appraisals. Readers should be warned that the quotations at the end of the article should not be used in appraisal documents but they are very funny nonetheless.

Are Your Performance Appraisals Getting the Right Results?

Performance Appraisals Interviews can be a very motivating experience for all employees if done right. However, if done wrong they can be the most de-motivating experience. Some organisations tend to plough on regardless and gain more and more battle scars during the appraisal process, just to tick the box, and say that they do performance appraisals. However, at what cost? Is this really adding value to the business? Too many organisations have ‘magpie’ appraisals systems – different people have taken ‘bits and pieces’ from previous appraisals they have used and stuck them together. 

So let's consider the following questions to see how your system stacks up:

  1. Was your system developed from scratch to meet the business needs, or are you working through an historical system that doesn’t get results?
  2. Did your system get full support for both managers and employees?
  3. Have your managers been trained on appraisal interviews and on giving employee feedback?
  4. Have you staff been trained on appraisal interviews and how to get the best out of the performance review process?
  5. Is there consistency in approach across departments and teams?
  6. Does your appraisal measure the right competencies, skills, and outputs?
  7. Who appraises the managers?
  8. Is your appraisal process evaluated from start to finish by both managers and staff? Do you use this feedback continuously improve the appraisal process?

These are just some styles of appraising staff that may have slipped into practice.

  • Mushroom Management Style. Tried and tested old style, little effort needed, you can sit back and watch the mayhem take over. This style is all about keeping the appraisee in the dark all year, and during their appraisal dumping a load of dirt on them. What a waste of time!
  • Nitpicking Management Style. This can nearly be a management pastime in itself, but some managers like to use this approach during appraisals to point out any minor flaw or mistake, which has occurred during the past twelve months. What a waste of time!
  • Wing-it – What else? Style. Off the cuff, unrehearsed, ad-lib. Employees are not stupid and know when you’re bluffing your way. What a waste of time!
  • Commitment Phobia Style. This manager has been told to get their appraisal interviews completed. Dragged, kicking and screaming to the appraisal interview, as they can’t put it off any longer. If a manager’s heart is not in the process, then neither will the employee's. What a waste of time.!
  • Bumbling Along Style. This manager has never been trained in appraisal interviewed and hasn’t a clue. They do not know how to set goals, standards of performance, give feedback whether good, bad or ugly. They spend hours looking over the past year and little time planning forward. What a waste of time!

These quotes apparently have been used in appraisal interviews. Enjoy.

  • “Sets low standards and consistently fails to achieve them.”
  • “He would be out of his depth in a car park puddle.”
  • “She brings a lot of joy whenever she leaves the room.”
  • “He has a knack for making strangers immediately.”
  • “She would argue with a signpost.”
  • "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he’s the other one.”
  • “Not a born leader yet.”

Don’t let your appraisals become the in-house joke. Seek help and get the right system to gain the business results you deserve and train your staff to use effectively.

This article is correct at 10/11/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Linzi Conway
Key to Success Consultants

The main content of this article was provided by Linzi Conway. Contact telephone number is 44 (0)28 2827 4434 or email

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