The thing that always made me crazy was that we never had normal annual evaluations. One year, we each wrote one positive thing and one negative thing about each of our coworkers, which they were given. Of course, we all recognized the handwriting on each one and it caused major hard feelings for several months after. One year, we were given a psychological diagnosis from the Director, who hated having difficult discussions. All I ever wanted to was legitimate evaluation based on fact.
When I was promoted, one of the first things I did was put an evaluation system into place. Employees deserve feedback. They also deserve the chance to improve. Everyone has areas in which they can improve. Knowing this, you'd think that I'd embrace evaluations. However, I hate them. Not only are the employees at the library my coworkers, but they are also my friends and it is very difficult to tell them that they could use improvement in a particular area.
I try not to be too critical, because people have bad days or bad weeks or, in some cases, bad months. We spend so much time together that problems with marriages, kids and bills leak into the lives of people, even if they never tell anyone they're having problems. On the occasions when an employee tells me they are having a personal problem, I am patient and wait for it to pass. In some cases, they don't have a personal problem, but instead are carrying some grudge about a work experience with them. Either way, it needs to be discussed.
The good news is that everyone passed their competency exams with flying colors! The bad news is that I had to give employees who are friends some negative feedback. Moving from friend to boss is difficult. All in all, though, it was a good year for the library and, despite a few bumps in the road, I think we are ready to plow into next year with gusto!