“Alicia, in the area of communication, I awarded you a score of 2 out of 5, indicating that you are not currently meeting expectations in this aspect of your position. While the other areas of this year’s review reflect the solid qualify of your work product, creativity, and client satisfaction, communication with me remains difficult and challenging. As we’ve discussed on multiple occasions, I often feel uncomfortable as your supervisor asking for status updates because you sometimes appear to be annoyed by my interruptions. From my vantage point, you often appear to resist feedback. Specifically, when I provide edits to your work, you either misunderstand my requests or ignore them. For example, on the Heaton project, I suggested three significant edits. You ignored two and misinterpreted what I said in the one edit that you incorporated. As you are aware, that project was delayed by six weeks because our team was not able to coordinate the deliverables, and the editing stage was the primary holdup. That was also the case with the Vickers project where the delivery was four weeks late.
“Going forward, I expect that you will go out of your way to welcome my and other team members’ editing suggestions of your work. With your tenure and talent, I expect you to create an environment where others seek out your support and guidance. Likewise, there should be no more challenges to my constructive feedback where you make claims that I’m “stifling your creativity.” We’re all on the same team working toward the same deliverables and goals, and I expect you to demonstrate role-model behavior moving forward so that our team can perform at an even higher level in terms of alignment and coordination. Finally, I shouldn’t be made to feel like I’m walking on eggshells when partnering with you on a project. Moving forward, I will commit to bringing these matters to your attention on the spot and in real time as they occur.”
Overall, it sounds like you have a talented designer on your hands who isn’t performing well in terms of her conduct or behavior. Employees sometimes believe that as long as their performance is good, “you can’t touch them,” meaning you can’t do anything about their attitude. That’s not true. Employees are responsible for both halves of the circle: performance and conduct need to be equally graded during performance reviews. Therefore, consider adding the following language in the “Overall Comments” section at the end of the review:
“Alicia, with the exception of the missed deadlines relating to the two projects referenced above, your performance continues to excel. You’re a talented designer and key member of our team, and I respect you and appreciate your overall contributions to our department. My goal in this annual review is help you handle criticism of your work more constructively. However, you’re equally as responsible for your conduct and behavior as you are for your performance and productivity. Accordingly, immediate and sustained improvement is required in the areas of communication and teamwork.
“I expect you to assume partial responsibility for the concerns outlined in this review so that we can move forward on a more positive footing and put this behind us. That being said, I’m holding you fully accountable for your own perception management from this point forward. Simply stated, you are expected to create and sustain a friendly and inclusive work environment under all circumstances, including criticism of your work.”