Leadership / Performance Feedback / Evaluations

Leadership Moment — 11 Aug 22

Make it meaningful.

Mark McMillion
3 min readAug 11, 2022


Digits.co.uk Images, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Following on from yesterday’s leadership moment and my oldest daughter’s first performance evaluation, I continued to think about our conversation.

She definitely liked what the boss wrote but also realized there was some fluff in there. As we talked, I suggested she keep a copy as it would be a good aid going forward for when she wants to freshen up her résumé as well as prepare for a job interview.

I also asked her if there were any specifics in the eval that pinpointed or quantified successes. There were not.

That led us to talk about the day she would be the one giving evaluations. I was in the Army for 22 years. One thing the Army was adamant about was to quantify success in performance reviews. Whether the evaluation was for a non-commissioned officer (NCO ako a sergeant) or an officer (such as a lieutenant), the rater looked for ways to enumerate both the performance as well as the potential.

I loved this practice and it clearly shaped how I view the process. While it may not always be possible to quantify success (although usually it is and if you can’t, you may need to look hard at how you measure your business), another approach is to cite specific behaviors.

When you can tell an employee how a specific action or behavior resulted in a specific effect, that’s powerful stuff. It may be a one-off instance that typifies the employee’s contributions or it may be a pattern of behavior.

“Jones’ intense preparation for the sales presentation and his ability to go three questions deep on our products resulted in the single largest manufacturing contract of the past three years.”

That’s powerful in a couple of ways. First, whoever reads that eval has a concrete example to consider for the employee’s next assignment or promotion. Second, the employee gets a gold nugget to share with mama and show how her hard work as his / her mother paid off. Or with the spouse and kids. Or just to frame and put up on the “me” wall at home.

“Smith’s patience, positive attitude, and perseverance in the customer service center over the past three months…



Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Works available on Amazon.