Top Three Employee Performance Appraisal Goals For Every Personality Type

To help your employees stay on track and to keep them engaged and productive, you'll need to set some metrics or milestones that you can measure and work towards. Most companies hand out performance goals at the annual performance review. Properly considered, they can help employees improve performance and job satisfaction. 

The difficult part about performance management is that it isn't as straightforward as handing out the same set of goals for everyone in the department or team. Neither is it a matter of spotting a weakness, then creating a generic objective that addresses the weakness. Personality plays a huge influencing role in the creation of improved work habits. The more managers personalize the performance goals they establish, the more likely employees will be embrace them.

The key then, is not to treat the process of goal-setting in the way you would personally prefer. It is much more effective to consider people's individual personalities and adapt your performance objectives to align with them. In terms of the 16-type personality system developed by Isabel Briggs Myers, there are four temperaments that make up your team: Artisans, Guardians, Rationals and Idealists. Although this temperament classification is just one of many models, it provides valuable insights that will make setting performance goals (and receiving them yourself) a better process for everyone.

Don't know your team members' personality types? Learn about the Typefinder test here

Artisans (Sensing-Perceiving Types)

Artisans (ESTP, ESFP, ISTP, ISFP) are the people-people of your workplace. They're energetic and spontaneous, full of enthusiasm and like to voice an opinion. Artisans are typically creative in a practical, hands-on type of way, and can always be counted on to troubleshoot problems. They often prioritize having fun in the workplace, and are typically less punctual, organized and structured than other team-members.

What they need from a performance review

Artisans need lots of concrete feedback – preferably in real time – so they know when you are happy with them and their performance. While it's okay to set performance goals annually or biannually, you really shouldn't leave it so long to keep your Artisans motivated and on-track: regular check ins are essential. Artisans can be sensitive, so emphasize their strengths when recommending areas for improvement.

Top three performance goals:

  • To encourage punctuality: "Be on time for all meetings. The team values your creativity and enthusiasm, and it shows you respect your colleagues' time."
  • To encourage focus on completing a task: "Establish a process for tracking progress on key projects including milestones and decision deadlines. Share with the manager by February 10. Provide weekly update reports."
  • To foster leadership: "I think you have great leadership potential. You are quick on your feet and are able to motivate the team. Find and enroll in one leadership development course or seminar by July. Apply the skills you learn to discover the problems that prevent team members from performing at the highest possible levels. Feedback to management by September 30. "

Guardians (Sensing-Judging Types)

Guardians are hardworking perfectionists. They are highly organized and place value on work over play. These people are your planners - they will not only work hard, they will do so very efficiently. If there's a weakness, it's group work. Groups introduce risk (ESTJ), bias (ISTJ), misjudgment (ISFJ) and disruption (ESFJ) into a Guardian's work situation, and many will avoid teamwork or cooperate only on their own terms and in limited doses. Teamwork aside, Guardians have a deep sense of loyalty to the organization and, properly motivated, will provide dutiful and faithful service.

What they need from a performance review

Guardians prefer to receive performance goals in a structured environment where feedback can be grouped and considered all in one place. So, a traditional end-of-year performance review suits them well. Like Artisans, they need concrete performance metrics that are specifically tailored to their own work situation. Don't make vague suggestions about their growth areas – Guardians will ignore performance goals that leave too much to the imagination.

Top three performance goals:

  • To encourage initiative: "Devise a strategy for delegating work more effectively to free up three hours a week. Use this time to assume X and Y responsibilities beyond your current job description."
  • To spur creativity and problem-solving: "Create a shortlist of options for the department's new productivity software. Experiment with all the options and feedback on your recommendations."
  • To encourage teamwork: "Serve on the corporate social responsibility committee this year. Build relationships among team members that foster collaboration and discussion of new ideas."

Rationals (Intuitive-Thinking Types)

Rationals are both logical and innovative. They have a never-ending stream of ideas and will work hard in order to make them a reality. They show confidence in their work and seek out opportunities for mastery and specialization, often coming up with creative alternatives to organization-wide problems. Like Guardians, Rationals are not natural team players. They may come across as detached (INTP), arrogant (INTJ), argumentative (ENTP) or ruthless (ENTJ) when asked to work in a team.

What they need from a performance review

Rationals tend to receive growth and stretch goals willingly, and are likely to value straightforward performance measures that are based around specific goals or targets, especially those that are geared towards specific future situations. They work best when they can see how their individual efforts fit into the big picture - a performance review that features 360-degree feedback will allow them to step back and consider things from different perspectives. Make sure they're appraised by someone they respect or they will not take the feedback seriously.

Top three performance goals:

  • To develop expertise: "Find and connect with experts to further boost your skills in X area. Become the team's expert source in this subject."
  • To encourage collaboration and the open sharing of information: "Serve as a mentor for [named junior staff members] and prepare a list of mentoring strategies ideas the department can apply with all employees."
  • Stretch goals to exploit conceptual thinking: "Develop a quality improvement process for the [named system] that reduces the failure rate to 1 percent by December."

Idealists (Intuitive-Feeling Types)

Idealists are the open-minded peacekeepers of your organization. They value relationships and cooperation and are the last to be involved in confrontation or conflict. They have a preference for ideals over practicalities and often struggle to make the tough decisions out of fear of upsetting someone. While they can be private and hard to read, Idealists tend to bring a calm and friendly presence to the workplace. NF types like to feel that they are being supported, and work hard to make others feel supported in return. They are appreciated by many for this quality.

What they need from a performance review

Idealists tend to be open, receptive and motivated to improve themselves. In theory, they should be easy to appraise and performance/ growth goals should be well received. They do, however, place great value on maintaining harmony so take care to give constructive feedback in a non-judgmental manner. It's helpful if Idealists receive performance reviews from someone they have a good relationship with.

Top three performance goals:

  • To encourage tolerance for debate and conflict: "Facilitate the team meetings this year and help get to the root of our conflicts. As part of this goal, you should take responsibility for managing poor behavior in meetings, including disciplining employees who do not perform to standard, to enhance communications and performance."
  • To boost practicality over idealism: "Translate the team's key vision of improving customer service into a specific action plan for raising customer satisfaction scores to over 90 percent and reducing by 20 percent the average problem resolution time." 
  • To boost decision making: "Prepare a cost-benefit analysis to determine the feasibility of hiring a temporary contractor to support the team during XYZ project. Present your decision to management by January 10." 

Summing It Up

Personality plays a large part in people's everyday working practices, and the way it impacts your performance review culture is no exception. It's always helpful to keep your team's personalities in mind and ensure that you deliver goals in a way that's beneficial to everyone. It can be tough breaking it down for specific employees. Identifying the right performance goals for your people takes time. But get it right, and you are well on your way to nurturing a performance culture of continuous growth and development – without offending anyone in the process. 

Jayne Thompson

Jayne is a freelance copywriter, business writing blogger and the blog editor here at Truity. One part word nerd, two parts skeptic, she helps writing-challenged clients discover the amazing power of words on a page. Jayne is an INTJ and lives in Yorkshire, UK with her ENTJ husband and two baffling children. Find Jayne at White Rose Copywriting.

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