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My Performance Review

Photograph by Getty Images

It’s anniversary time. The third, to be exact. At each anniversary, I’ve found it helpful to check in with my nanny and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. This year, I am taking it up a notch and doing a formal performance review. Actually, I am doing one for her and one for myself.

The other night I sat down with the form I’d just filled out for her and turned my scrutiny on myself. Myself as an employer. The highest possible score is 5 — it means I’m exceeding expectations; 4 is a good job; 3 is good enough; 2 is poor; and 1 is very poor.

Let’s just say there’s vast room for improvement.

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Communication. This is my weakest area. It always has been. I have this warped idea that frank discussions about what I want for my kids (outdoor time, fresh fruit), and what I don’t want (Calliou, fast food), will make her angry or step on her toes. I balk when it comes time to tell her that I disagree with one of her decisions, even though it’s my job to tell her what I want. She’s told me before that it’s actually easier for her when I am specific, direct and detailed about what I want. I’m getting better at being direct and specific. But I still can’t bring myself to tell her that I’d prefer she not bring the kids candy and donuts on Fridays. This year’s score: 2 out of 5.

My mind goes blank when I think of what the nanny could do for the following ten hours with my children.

Cooperation. This is the area where I’ve grown the most. I’ve taken her suggestions about how to deal with my son’s erratic nap schedules and what kind of activities the kids would enjoy. Based on her urging, my children quit gymnastics and took up tennis. When I’ve declined to follow her suggestions, I’ve explained my thinking and let her know how much I appreciate her giving me feedback. I gave myself bonus points for not taking it out on the nanny when my children started telling me that they like her better than me. This year’s score: 5 out of 5.

Punctuality. This one is embarrassing to admit. I’ve long flagged myself as a tad hypocritical in that I have high expectations that our nanny will arrive on time every single day. After all, I have to get to work. But in my honest self-survey, I’ve got to admit that I sometimes walk in the door five to ten minutes late at the end of my day. While I always apologize, I think we can all agree that’s just not enough. I’ve vowed to be more punctual and respectful of her time. This year’s score: 3 out of 5.

Managerial Skills. Does throwing $20 on the counter as I run out the door count as management? Because if it did, I’d get a perfect score. The truth is that on those days when the kids are out of school because of teacher conferences or the polar vortex, I shirk my leadership responsibilities. My mind goes blank when I think of what the nanny could do for the following ten hours with my children. But throwing money on the table and hoping she picks a fun museum to visit isn’t exactly good management. This long winter has revealed that I’m in great need of improvement here. This year’s score: 2.5 out of 5.

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Positive Feedback. The one good manager skill I have acquired is that I understand the value of positive feedback. Routinely, I thank our nanny for the wonderful job she does keeping my children safe and entertained during my work days. I also insist that the children thank her every day, because we are blessed to have her as a part of our family, and she deserves our respect and gratitude. As ashamed as I am of my scores in some of the categories, I am proud that I know a blessing when I have one and have made that clear to her. This year’s score: 5 out of 5.

Image via Getty

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