Mindful Performance Evaluations

Nancy B. Alston

A performance evaluation can be a stressful endeavor for the employee as well as the manager. As a supervisor it is important to begin any high stakes process with full awareness of the goal and outcome. Being mindful of the impact of a performance evaluation is just as important as the goal.

Being aware of and taking into account all internal and external issues that can affect a performance evaluation is critical. The 4 “R’s” (Reflect, Research, Rehearse and Reconnect) will help expand your consciousness in a way that will bring real satisfaction to the employee you are evaluating and create new ways for you to view all of what you do at work.


Start by centering yourself in the here and now. Take a few breathes and relax your body releasing any negativity or anxiety.

Clearly focus on your Oneness and the moment at hand. Connect with the reality that you are one person, today is only one day and you only have so much time to get so much done.

Say to yourself consciously or out loud, “Today, I will accomplish a great deal and tomorrow is a new day.”
Continue to breathe and reflect on this moment in time. After a few minutes of deep breathing and reflection prepare yourself to begin researching and writing a fantastic performance appraisal.


Gather any notes, reports or other such documents that demonstrate the work of an employee you are evaluating. Take time to document your own accomplishments as a way to deepen your research. Acknowledge, you would not have been as successful in certain endeavors without some assistance of those you supervise. Writing an employee’s performance evaluation from this place of gratitude and respect can allow positive accomplishments to come to the forefront very easily. After the performance appraisal has been completed it is ready to be reviewed and rehearsed.


Imagine sitting in the office with the employee you will meet with to conduct the performance evaluations. Imagine what you are wearing, where you are sitting, how the chairs are arranged, the temperature in the room. Now visualize the employee’s face, what they are wearing and where they are sitting. There should be no judgment brought to the rehearsal, just visualize peace and goodness.

Try trading places; imagine the emotions you might have when you are going to meet with your boss for a performance evaluation meeting. You might be nervous, slightly perspiring and anxious. Depending on your relationship with your boss you may also be excited and eager. Now multiply that feeling times two and imagine how you direct report might be feeling as they sit down for their performance evaluation meeting with you. Remain calm yet aware of your own body and the content of your thoughts.

Practice reading what you will say, focusing on how you will speak and what you will enthusiastically emphasize. Imagine you are on display for all to observe and prepare for this very important occasion.


During the performance meeting with the employee find a way to reconnect. If this is a person you were responsible for hiring, draw upon past experiences that allow you to appreciate their perspective. For employees that you have not had the privilege of connecting with, seize this opportunity. Create a connection that will serve you both in times of success and challenge.

Taking the time to reflect, research, and rehearse opens the door for real connection. This process can turn any performance evaluation into a mindful practice that can be replicated many times over. There is life and energy born into the process rather than any negative emotions.

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