100 Performance Review Phrases for Managers (Situational Examples)

A performance review is a crucial process to evaluate your team’s work and progress: it helps you identify areas that need improvement, recognize outstanding achievements, and set goals for future success. In this section, we will discuss the key components of a performance review and provide situational examples for managers.

  1. Be consistent and objective: To establish a fair evaluation, make sure to use consistent criteria for all employees. Avoid allowing personal biases to influence your judgment. For instance, consider each team member’s contribution to a project, their interpersonal skills, and their ability to meet deadlines.
  2. Use specific examples: When discussing an employee’s performance, cite specific instances that illustrate your point. For example, instead of saying, “You’ve done a great job,” provide a concrete example such as, “Your presentation to the client was engaging, well-organized and led to an increase in sales.”
  3. Encourage self-assessment: Allow employees to evaluate their own performance before the review. This promotes self-awareness and encourages them to think critically about their work. By asking questions like, “What do you think were your major accomplishments this year?” or “What can you improve on moving forward?”, you enable a constructive discussion.
  4. Highlight areas for improvement: While it’s essential to recognize accomplishments, it’s equally critical to address areas that need growth. Offer constructive feedback and collaborate with the employee to create a game plan for improvement. For instance, if an employee struggles with time management, you could say, “Your dedication to detail is admirable. However, meeting deadlines has been challenging. Let’s discuss strategies to help you manage your workload more efficiently.”
  5. Set goals for the future: Establish expectations and help your team set realistic, achievable objectives. Collaboratively defining workplace goals ensures that everyone is on board and willing to put forth their efforts in achieving these objectives. Make sure to establish SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals to promote clarity and focus.

Setting the Tone for Reviews

Importance of Constructive Feedback

When it comes to performance reviews, providing constructive feedback is essential. This allows your employees to understand their strengths and areas for improvement while also showing that you value their contributions. A great way to guide your employee is by using the SBI technique: Situation, Behavior, and Impact.

For example, you might say, “In last week’s team meeting, you offered very clear and concise explanations about our new marketing campaign (situation). Your clarity and concise presentation (behavior) helped the team to understand the project goals better, resulting in more engagement and proactive discussions (impact). Keep it up!”
This gives them an example of how their behavior positively affected the team and encourages them to continue such behavior.

Balancing Praise and Critique

It’s important to strike a balance between praise and critique during performance reviews. Start by highlighting your employees’ strengths, as this sets a positive tone and encourages them to be more receptive to feedback. Then, move on to the areas where they need improvement.

When critiquing, be specific and provide examples. “During the client presentation, you seemed to be struggling with answering some of their questions (situation). It’s essential to be prepared and have a deep understanding of the project (behavior). In the future, consider taking extra time to study the project or reach out to colleagues for assistance. This will help you better address clients’ concerns (impact).”
(By using specific examples and actionable suggestions, you’re helping employees learn and grow.)

Examples of Performance Review Phrases

Communication Skills

  1. You actively listen to your teammates.
  2. You express your ideas in a concise manner.
  3. You take the time to understand others’ perspectives.
  4. You give constructive feedback.
  5. You communicate expectations clearly.
  6. You use a variety of channels to communicate.
  7. You show empathy in your interactions.
  8. You are skilled in resolving conflicts gracefully.
  9. You encourage open dialogue.
  10. You provide context when assigning tasks.
  11. You use persuasion effectively.
  12. You are comfortable speaking in public.
  13. You exemplify active listening.
  14. You use appropriate body language while communicating.
  15. You adapt your communication style to suit the audience.
  16. You effectively explain complex information.
  17. You maintain eye contact when speaking.
  18. You use visual aids effectively in presentations.
  19. You structure your thoughts logically.
  20. You are mindful of cultural sensitivities in your communication.
  21. You choose the appropriate medium for your messages.
  22. You provide timely updates on relevant issues.
  23. You tailor your communication style to the individual.
  24. You ask open-ended questions.
  25. You are skilled in utilizing non-verbal cues.
  26. You summarize key points of discussions.
  27. You respect others’ opinions and feelings.
  28. You remain calm and composed under pressure.
  29. You use humor effectively to lighten the mood.
  30. You demonstrate confidence in your verbal communication.


  1. You gather all relevant information before making decisions.
  2. You consider both short-term and long-term consequences.
  3. You actively involve stakeholders in decision-making.
  4. You are open to changing your mind based on new information.
  5. You avoid impulsive decisions.
  6. You are comfortable making difficult choices.
  7. You use a systematic approach to solve problems.
  8. You often make timely decisions.
  9. You effectively prioritize tasks and manage resources.
  10. You learn from your past decisions.
  11. You are skilled in risk assessment and management.
  12. You consider multiple alternatives before choosing a course of action.
  13. You maintain a balance between analytical and instinctive decision-making.
  14. You are proactive in addressing potential roadblocks.
  15. You consult with peers and experts when necessary.
  16. You avoid decision-making biases.
  17. You set realistic expectations for decision outcomes.
  18. You encourage innovative thinking.
  19. You recognize and admit when a decision is flawed.
  20. You ensure decisions align with company values and goals.
  21. You delegate decision-making to appropriate team members.
  22. You assess the potential positive and negative outcomes.
  23. You understand the importance of trade-offs.
  24. You create contingency plans for potential risks.
  25. You remain flexible and adjust course as needed.
  26. You prioritize value creation and impact in your decisions.
  27. You consistently make data-driven decisions.
  28. You evaluate decisions against their intended objectives.
  29. You critically analyze the effectiveness of previous decisions.
  30. You are willing to make tough decisions for the greater good.

Team Building

  1. You excel at assigning tasks to team members based on their strengths.
  2. Your team consistently meets their deadlines due to your strong organizational skills.
  3. You’re great at recognizing team members who have gone above and beyond in their work.
  4. You effectively communicate expectations and deadlines to your team.
  5. Collaboration within the team has improved significantly under your leadership.
  6. Your cross-functional projects show that you can bring diverse teams together successfully.
  7. Team morale has increased as a result of your inclusive and supportive management style.
  8. You create a positive and open environment that fosters creativity and innovation.
  9. You regularly provide constructive feedback to help your team succeed.
  10. Your team’s productivity has increased due to your focus on setting clear goals and ensuring accountability.

Conflict Resolution

  1. You consistently mediate disputes in a fair and unbiased manner.
  2. You proactively address conflicts before they escalate, ensuring a harmonious work environment.
  3. Your ability to empathize with different perspectives enables you to facilitate resolutions.
  4. You use effective problem-solving skills to develop solutions that satisfy all parties involved.
  5. You maintain a sense of calm and professionalism when faced with challenging situations.
  6. You provide a safe space for team members to express their concerns and opinions.
  7. Your open-door policy encourages employees to approach you with any issues they face.
  8. Your success at resolving conflicts has contributed to a higher level of trust within the team.
  9. You actively listen to and validate the feelings and opinions of each person involved in a dispute.
  10. Your excellent communication skills help you to effectively address misunderstandings and resolve conflicts.


  1. You quickly adjust to new situations and come up with creative solutions.
  2. Your flexibility helps the team adapt to changing priorities.
  3. When faced with unexpected changes, you’re able to maintain a positive attitude.
  4. You’re open to new ideas and can change your approach when necessary.
  5. You recognize when a change in direction is needed and take action promptly.
  6. You’re able to balance multiple tasks and priorities effectively.
  7. You demonstrate resilience in the face of setbacks, using them as learning opportunities.
  8. You can work well under pressure, remaining calm and composed.
  9. You readily offer assistance to colleagues when their workload changes.
  10. You’re comfortable embracing new technology and incorporating it into your work.

Continuous Learning

  1. You’re always willing to learn from your mistakes and make improvements.
  2. You actively seek out feedback to help you grow in your role.
  3. You’re proactive in expanding your knowledge through training or industry events.
  4. You’re open to new ideas and regularly seek out new information.
  5. You take the initiative to enroll in professional development courses whenever possible.
  6. You’re committed to staying current with industry trends and best practices.
  7. You frequently share your new learning with colleagues to help them grow as well.
  8. You consistently look for opportunities to improve processes and increase efficiency.
  9. You actively participate in team discussions, offering new insights and contributing to a culture of learning.
  10. You’re always eager to apply your newfound knowledge to your work, leading to better results.

Addressing Areas for Growth

  1. Struggle with providing clear instructions
  2. Difficulty communicating expectations
  3. Ineffective performance feedback
  4. Poor listening skills
  5. Distracted during meetings
  6. Inability to prioritize tasks
  7. Difficulty delegating responsibilities
  8. Unrealistic goal setting
  9. Inefficient use of time
  10. Trouble staying organized
  11. Indecisiveness in decision-making
  12. Hesitant to take risks
  13. Limited adaptability to change
  14. Lacking empathy and emotional intelligence
  15. Difficulty managing conflict
  16. Inadequate employee recognition and motivation
  17. Inability to develop and maintain strong relationships
  18. Struggle to build trust among team members
  19. Limited knowledge of organizational goals and priorities
  20. Lack of innovative thinking
  21. Difficulty staying current with industry trends
  22. Resistance to learning new technology or software
  23. Overemphasis on individual accomplishments
  24. Difficulty maintaining work-life balance
  25. Struggle with self-awareness
  26. Inconsistency in enforcing policies
  27. Limited networking skills
  28. Hesitant to seek external advice or feedback
  29. Difficulty identifying areas for personal development
  30. Limited mentoring and coaching capabilities

Providing Specific Examples

Scenario-Based Feedback

When providing feedback, it’s helpful to use scenario-based examples. This approach helps your managers understand how their actions affect real-life situations. Here are a few examples of scenario-based feedback:

  1. During the team meeting, you effectively delegated tasks to each team member and made sure everyone was clear about their responsibilities. This led to a successful project completion within the set deadline.
  2. While discussing Jane’s recent performance, you highlighted specific instances where she demonstrated improvements, making her feel more confident and motivated.
  3. During a conflict between two team members, you stepped in and mediated the situation fairly, ensuring both parties felt heard and valued.

Outcome-Focused Examples

It’s also important to use outcome-focused examples that highlight the results of the manager’s actions. This way, they can better understand the impact of their management and decision-making. Here are a few examples of outcome-focused feedback:

  1. Your consistent communication with the team led to increased collaboration and a smoother workflow, resulting in the project being completed ahead of schedule.
  2. By acknowledging the team’s hard work publicly, their satisfaction and motivation increased, leading to a noticeable improvement in overall team performance.
  3. Your hands-on approach in helping employees develop new skills has resulted in a more skilled and versatile workforce, which enhances our company’s adaptability and growth potential.

Discussing Next Steps and Goals

  1. Understand strengths and weaknesses: Recognize your team member’s strengths and areas needing improvement to establish a solid foundation for discussing their goals. For example, “Your strong organizational skills have greatly contributed to the team’s productivity, while there seems to be room for improvement in your presentation skills.”
  2. Set SMART goals: Encourage your team members to create Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. Using this approach can help them stay focused on their goals and improve their performance. For instance, “To enhance your presentation skills, commit to attending a public speaking course within the next three months and practice presenting in team meetings at least twice a month.”
  3. Provide a timeline: It can be helpful to set a timeline for achieving specific goals, as this lends a sense of urgency and accountability to the process. For example, “Revisit these goals in three months to assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments.”
  4. Offer support: Be available and provide assistance when needed, but also emphasize the importance of autonomy and self-development. As a manager, your role is to guide and support, rather than control every detail. For example, “If you need any guidance or resources during the process, please feel free to reach out.”
  5. Encourage reflection and adjustment: Remind your team members to periodically evaluate their progress and adjust their goals and action plan as needed. Flexibility is important in achieving long-term success. For example, “If you find that your current strategy isn’t working as well as you had hoped, don’t hesitate to adjust your approach.”
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Frequently Asked Questions

How can managers effectively highlight their leadership strengths in a performance review?

To highlight leadership strengths in a performance review, focus on the specific actions and initiatives you’ve taken that showcase your ability to lead. You can discuss how you’ve promoted teamwork, mentored team members, and worked collaboratively to reach company goals. For example, mention how you consistently led your team to exceed targets and improved processes to streamline efficiency.

What are some strong phrases a manager can use to describe their problem-solving abilities during a review?

  1. “Developed and implemented strategies to resolve complex issues”
  2. “Applied critical thinking skills to tackle challenging situations”
  3. “Devised innovative solutions to overcome obstacles”
  4. “Collaborated with team members to identify and address pain points”
  5. “Analyzed data and leveraged insights to optimize decision-making processes”

Can you provide examples of how managers can self-assess their communication skills in a performance review?

To self-assess your communication skills, consider the following examples:

  1. “Effectively communicated with stakeholders at all levels”
  2. “Maintained open channels of communication to foster collaboration”
  3. “Tailored messaging to suit various audiences and mediums”
  4. “Actively listened to feedback and implemented changes accordingly”
  5. “Regularly conducted team meetings to ensure alignment and provide updates”

What examples can illustrate a manager’s ability to improve their team’s performance?

  1. “Implemented training programs to enhance employee skills and increase engagement”
  2. “Established KPIs and regularly reviewed progress to ensure targets were met”
  3. “Reallocated resources to optimize team efficiency and productivity”
  4. “Redefined roles and responsibilities to capitalize on individual strengths”
  5. “Identified and addressed team challenges to promote a positive work environment”
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How should managers express their strategic planning skills in performance appraisals?

Managers can express their strategic planning skills by sharing examples, such as:

  1. “Developed a comprehensive roadmap to achieve short and long-term objectives”
  2. “Evaluated market trends and anticipated industry shifts to inform strategic decisions”
  3. “Conducted SWOT analyses to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats”
  4. “Collaborated with cross-functional teams to develop and execute strategic initiatives”
  5. “Allocated resources efficiently to ensure optimal project outcomes”

Could you give situational examples of how managers have demonstrated integrity in their performance reviews?

To demonstrate integrity in performance reviews, you can provide situational examples. For example:

  1. “Upheld company values and policies, even during challenging situations”
  2. “Took ownership of mistakes and implemented corrective actions to prevent recurrence”
  3. “Promoted a transparent work environment, fostering trust among team members”
  4. “Proactively addressed ethical concerns and ensured they were resolved appropriately”
  5. “Encouraged a culture of integrity and honesty by consistently modeling these behaviors”