QUESTION: A manager sees only the result, not the effort.
FACT: In certain circumstances, effort without proper results also gets recognized.
Very often, an employee complains that his manager does not see the efforts he has put into a project. He says that he has worked long hours and during the weekends for many months, but there is no appreciation. When a project fails, some employees explain it away by saying that the project requirement itself was faulty, that it was very generic or that it kept changing periodically. Such employees expect their manager to recognize the external dependencies that go into executing a project.
First of all, most organizations do incentivize people for working .long hours if the management feels that the quantum of work required to be done in the given time frame is unrealistic, and so extra effort is required. But, if a person has signed up to complete a task in a given time frame and has not been able to do it, then he has to put in that extra effort in order to meet with the schedule; this, however, does not entail any additional benefits.
It is a fact’ that during the life cycle of a project, things can—and will—change, but it is expected of the employee, depending upon his career level, to make suitable ‘adjustments. He has to first analyze and then communicate the schedule impact and the associated risks to his seniors. It-is difficult to help if people do not seek help in time and do not foresee the upcoming issues.
Results speak much louder than the effort, and only in a few circumstances is effort appreciated even if the result is not good. Results demonstrated at intermediate milestones can also help in the rating, although the end result is not up to expectation; however, the effort is recognized. Also, if an employee has taken up a challenge where he and his manager are in agreement that the prospect of success is bleak but, nevertheless, .worth a try then, in that case too, the effort is recognized, irrespective of the result. During the execution phase of a project, it’s the manager’s responsibility to help an employee understand that he’s taking the wrong path and correct it in a timely manner. This will save effort and time, and help in achieving the desired result within the stipulated timeline.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? A good manager certainly notices your contribution if you have done what’s expected of you; in some cases, he will also understand that you have gone beyond what was required of you, in order to rescue the project. When your manager has taken note of your effort and when he agrees that you had little control over the project’s final outcome, you could get a better rating. If you sense that a particular project is risky and the probability of success within the fixed timeline is low, then you should be upfront with your manager in conveying this. This will also avert last-minute surprises.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE MANAGER? Every individual is appraised based on both his own and his team’s goal. Even if the team has not performed well, it is not ,right that-each and every individual in the team should get ‘average or ‘below average’ ratings. Depending upon the job level and the individual’s contribution, a few team members could get a better rating. First, you should be convinced, and then you should provide data to convince your manager about the good performers. If you have signed up for impossible goals without taking the team into confidence, then you should own up rather than impact the team during appraisal.