5 Ways to Lead Effective and Inspiring Church Staff Reviews

Leading someone without offering feedback is cruel because you their hamper development. Feedback is like steroids for development. Over fifteen years ago I began the discipline of giving staff reviews to those who report directly to me. I have learned and grown a lot in that time. This insight from Vanderbloemen Search Group is very helpful if you are responsible to lead a team of people. My favorite point is point two. Huge. Staff reviews must be connected to the desired culture of the team.

Read the insight from Vanderbloemn below and benefit from the free template provided.

According to a 2017 article by Gallup, “A mere 14% of employees strongly agree the performance reviews they receive inspire them to improve, and only two in 10 employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.”

Staff reviews can be a dreaded activity for both the employee and the employer. The employee feels a lot of pressure walking into a room of unknowns and likely feels vulnerable, as their annual performance is about to be in the spotlight. The employer might feel uncomfortable giving critical feedback or dread confrontation.

At Vanderbloemen, we help churches and ministries find their key staff so we get many questions about staff reviews. How do you conduct staff reviews to inspire your team to do outstanding work?

1. Have reviews often and consistently.

One of the best ways to build trust with your team is to have regular face-time through one-on-one meetings. This provides a consistent feedback loop between you and your team members. Depending on your team member’s needs, this might be once a week or every other week. However, the key is to have consistent check-ins that are not formal reviews but casual checks in where you simply ask your team member, “How can I help you?” This also allows you to get ahead of any trouble spots before they become big issues. Nothing brought up in a formal staff review should be a surprise if you’re having regular check-ins with your team.

2. Review through the lens of your staff values.

One of the questions we get the most regarding staff reviews is, “What questions should I ask in a staff review?” If you have established staff values, then you have a framework for what your staff reviews should cover. At Vanderbloemen, we have nine staff values, and each employee’s staff reviews cover how well they are living out each value. Give your team member real examples of how you’ve seen him or her live out that specific staff value as well as tangible ways he or she can improve.

3. Leverage the power of self-reviews.

Your team is likely made up of introverts and extroverts, which means your team processes information differently. One common mistake extroverted leaders make is having an on-the-fly staff review that simply talks through the person’s performance. The downside to this is that if your team member is an internal processor, they likely will not feel comfortable speaking up during the review, and you might not hear insightful feedback that they have. On the flip side, a mistake that introverted leaders make is to hand over a thoughtful but written review without any time to talk through it. This is not as helpful for external or verbal processors who benefit from time to talk through feedback, issues, and ideas.

Consider sending your team members the review template ahead of time so they can conduct a self-review. This allows them to be intentional and thoughtful as they reflect and self-grade their own performance. Self-reviews are powerful because they not only help the employee self-audit, but they also help you assess his or her self-awareness regarding his or her work. When you receive the team member’s self-review, go through and add comments and feedback throughout. Then, share it with your team member and use it as the discussion point to guide your formal staff review.

4. Consider peer reviews.

To further increase the level of feedback your team receives, consider conducting peer reviews. One of the most popular blogs on our Vanderbloemen Church Leadership Blog is from Life.Church called 3 Reasons You Should Consider Peer Reviews. It’s several years old but packed full of wisdom on how your church can conduct peer reviews to help team members get a 360 view of how their peers view their performance and value to the team.

5. Create goals and measure them.

Ultimately, effective staff reviews that inspire teams to do outstanding work include setting goals that inspire your team members. These should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals that contribute to furthering your church’s mission. Set and inspire these goals in your formal staff reviews and then review them on a weekly basis in your weekly one-on-one check-ins with your team.

As church leaders, we should be inspiring irresistible workplaces because we have an irresistible mission to share. Start inspiring your team with effective staff reviews that will encourage your team and propel your church forward. Get started with our free template for leading effective church staff reviews.