Executive Performance Evaluations

Feedback is a gift. But it has to be done right to be useful. Local government and utility executives regularly evaluate the people who report to them. And they expect the managers in their organizations to do the same. Without regular feedback, it is easy for expectations to be misunderstood, recognitions for what is going well to slide by, and goals to become unclear.

City councils, utility board members, county boards of supervisors, and other governing bodies appoint a chief executive. They frequently appoint chief legal counsel and sometimes other top staff such as auditors, clerks of the board, and some department heads.

It can be both time-consuming and confusing to figure out how to do an evaluation with a multi-member governing body. Some governing body members have not conducted an evaluation, and most have not evaluated an employee as a group. Gathering useful, timely feedback to help assess past performance and set measurable goals for the next year is difficult.

The chief executive and other council/board appointees are sometimes the only employees who are not being evaluated annually or given helpful feedback. A facilitated evaluation takes the pressure off the governing body. It assures all voices are included equally, and that there is a document containing the results of the evaluation and consensus on goals for the coming year.

Raftelis has experienced facilitators who use a proven process to conduct executive performance evaluations. Our process provides for two-way discussions between the governing body and the executive. It is an avenue for the governing body and executive to strengthen their partnership in carrying out their respective roles. The result of our process is a collective view of the executive’s performance and goals for the coming year.

The facilitator’s role throughout this process is to serve as a neutral party in gathering feedback from the governing body, summarizing the results, facilitating a productive discussion in a closed session, and documenting agreements resulting from the process.

Strong leaders welcome receiving feedback that will help them understand what their governing body appreciates about their leadership, where there is opportunity for growth, and to ensure alignment on goals.

Councils and other governing bodies appreciate an efficient and smooth process that will enable all voices to be equally heard, be productive, and be of value to the executive.

The key elements of our process are shown below:

  1. Executive’s self-assessment
  2. Interviews with the governing body
  3. Preparation of a confidential report
  4. Facilitate a closed session
  5. Document goals and expectations

The primary purpose of the performance evaluation is to enhance the executive’s ability to be most successful in their organization. It is about two-way discussions, meaningful feedback, and a clear understanding of expectations from the governing body, as well as what the executive needs to most effectively carry out their roles.

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