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Many leaders define success in terms of their staff’s confidence in them. And, while that’s a fair litmus to use, it only speaks to part of what’s needed.

Another, often overlooked, component is how much confidence your BOSS has in you.

Why it Matters?

Anyone who’s ever tried to get approval for a new initiative only to find that the boss needed “a more compelling business justification” knows how important this is. Conversely, it’s so much easier to get things done when your boss is squarely in your camp, isn’t it?

If you’re not getting what I mean, just consider the difference in conversations you then have, downstream, when one of your requests is approved by your boss versus when one is not.

Approvals are the ‘juice’ that power (and empower) leadership success up, down, and across the organization.

Validating Expectations

The psychology of it is this: Whether bosses realize it or not – and by ‘bosses’ I mean YOU, too – they tend to be far more open to new ideas and counter-intuitive approaches when coming from one of their outstanding performers rather than one of their lesser-rated direct reports.

Why? Because if your boss already thinks you do really good work, then chances are that whatever you do, next, will likely be seen in a more positive light than the work of someone who just scrapes by.

Expectations work that way – it’s called the Halo Effect.

Per Wikipedia, “The halo effect is a cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product influences the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s character or properties.”

I like to call it ’rounding UP’.

We Like to Help Who We Like to Help

But, the deeper value of earning an outstanding performance review goes beyond this benefit-of-the-doubt Halo Effect.

When your boss thinks you do outstanding work, s/he’ll work both WITH and FOR you to help get more things done SOONER – things you likely cannot do without his/her authority and active backing.

And therein lies the importance of YOUR performance review on your staff’s performance – it enables you leverage your own boss’s authority to get more done … with (and for) them!

So what tends to occur for you, AND your staff, when your boss is impressed with your work? Here are some examples:

  • Better raises
  • Higher bonuses
  • Faster promotions
  • New program funding
  • Additional headcount
  • Increased visibility
  • Greater support
  • More recognition
  • Deeper respect
  • Help in crafting the subtle distinctions that allow for approvals without violating existing policies or setting new precedence

Yes, having your boss on your side is a powerful leadership tool, indeed – not because bosses lower their standards for their top performers, but because bosses tend to work HARDER to SUPPORT their top performers.

And if you bring it back to you and your staff, what employee wouldn’t want to follow you, as THEIR boss, if you can potentially get so much more done for them?!

What’s it Take?

So the operative question becomes this: HOW DO YOU GET A BETTER PERFORMANCE REVIEW?

And the answer?

Well, if you don’t already know, let me suggest you ask your immediate supervisor and follow his/her instructions, accordingly. 😉


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