Fishbowl Activity

Fishbowl Activity

Performance Appraisals

This activity is based on a Fishbowl: a small inner-circle of 4 or 5 learners discuss or perform a task while an outer-circle of 4 or 5 learners observe silently and take notes for later discussions.

Objective: This activity has a twofold purpose: 1) to have the learners perform as objective observers, and 2) provide a discussion format for performance appraisals. Note that it could also make a good transitional device between the two subjects.

Depending on the size of the class, break the learners fishbowls. Each fishbowl need two groups, with 4 or 5 people to a group). Group A will be the first inner-circle. Have the inner-circle read and discuss the following statement:

It is time to perform a performance appraisal for one of your employees. Your method of handling employee evaluations is:

A. Performance appraisals are usually a waste of time. Even when the employee is open to what I have to say, they never really ever seem to change. They soon fall back into their same old habits. Therefore, I keep the sessions short and fairly general. It is also a good idea to keep as few records as possible... they might get you into trouble at a later date.

B. Performance appraisals are excellent for evaluating the employee's past performance and setting new goals. I always consider the employee's strengths and weaknesses. I ensure that the employee is actively involved in the evaluation so that he or she takes ownership of the final appraisal. I expect the employee to use the appraisal as a tool for growth.

After about 15 or 20 minutes, rotate the inner and outer circles. Have the new inner-circle read and discuss the following statements:

It is time to perform a performance appraisal for one of your employees. Your method of handling employee evaluations is:

C. Criticism only hurts people's feelings, and few people can be objective when discussing their weaknesses. Therefore, unless there is a serious problem, I only concentrate on the employee's strengths. For example, after a game day, Vince Lombardi never replayed the bad plays, only the good plays. He wanted his players to concentrate on the winning plays!

D. Appraisals are quite valuable when used to instruct the employee on how to improve. Although some supervisors tend to beat around the bush, the direct approach works best for me. If an employee has done something wrong, I tell him or her. Vince Lombardi once said, "If you don't keep score, you're only practicing." I have to let my employees know that they are falling short of expectations so that they can set new goals!

After the small group activities, form back into a class and discuss:

Next Steps

Return to the Leadership Training and Development Outline

This activity is used in conjunction with the chapter on Leadership and Motivation