Assignment Performance Phrases

Accurately describing an employee’s abilities to maintain performance levels and set priorities helps the employee to shape goals after the appraisal process is complete. Conducting an employee appraisal means using the right phrasing to delineate levels of the employee’s abilities, whether they excel or need improvement.

In order for the written feedback on your evaluations to have a long-lasting impact, you need to focus on the individual performance factors that determine the quality and quantity of your employees’ work, such as performance levels and setting priorities. The best strategy is to include targeted phrases that energize an employee to keep up the good work in key areas, while also encouraging employees to focus more carefully on the quality and quantity of their work where needed.

  • Finds the most effective ways to get the job done

  • Creates new strategies to improve performance

  • Improves the performance of others

  • Focuses abundant energy and effort on the job

  • Targets efforts for maximum results, and then achieves them

  • Is motivated to perform at a superior level

  • Maintains the highest personal performance standards

  • Is clearly superior in every measurable area of performance

  • Expects and attains outstanding results

  • Serves as a highly positive role model in all performance areas

  • Took a virtually impossible assignment and turned it into a major winner

  • Set a new high-water mark on the XYZ project

  • Grabs the brass ring on every project

  • Dazzles senior management

  • Comes to work ready to excel

  • Sets high personal performance expectations

  • Relentlessly pursues outstanding outcomes

  • Expects more and gets it

  • Refuses to settle for status-quo performance

  • Does not know the word average

  • Is energized by the prospect of achieving challenging goals

  • Prioritizes work for maximum results

  • Has a compelling “can-do” attitude

  • Is undaunted by difficult challenges, tough obstacles, or frustrating events

  • Plans to succeed and does so

  • Bounces back from setbacks

  • Is frequently mentioned by name whenever the topic of outstanding performance comes up

  • Keeps pushing until the desired outcomes are achieved

  • Jump-starts stalled projects

  • Takes great pride not only in meeting goals but in surpassing them

  • Is open to new strategies to improve results

  • Has visibly improved her performance levels

  • Is steadily upgrading every performance area

  • Actively seeks strategies to improve performance

  • Can be counted on for solid performance

  • Focuses his priorities on maximum effectiveness and success

  • Maintains focus on the main event

  • Takes feedback to heart and strives to improve

  • Focuses on work, not on the clock

  • Is a stable and consistent performer

  • Is very interested in suggestions to build performance

  • Effectively focuses her energy on the job

  • Is satisfied with his current performance, despite the fact that it isn’t satisfactory

  • Prefers to slip under the bar instead of leaping over it

  • Can be sidetracked by minor obstacles and challenges

  • Is tolerant of mediocre performance

  • Regards performance measures as unfair

  • Has an inflated view of her own work

  • Insists that improvements in performance are coming soon

  • Feels that others are intentionally trying to make him look bad

  • Spends more time as a spectator than as a participant

  • Comes up short on long-term projects

  • Spends time on low-priority projects

  • Is primarily interested in things that have little to do with work

  • Is rarely around when it’s time for heavy lifting

  • Does C-level work on A-level projects

  • Misunderstands the priorities of the job

  • Attributes performance problems to other people or circumstances

  • Fails to take responsibility for her failures

  • Has received complaints from customers

  • Has received complaints from management

  • Has displayed performance levels that have been declining

  • Talks the performance talk, but does not walk the walk

  • Has fallen into a habit of questionable performance

  • Spends more time socializing than working

  • Shows little interest or motivation in upgrading performance

  • Doesn’t pay enough attention to the work that needs to be done

  • Expects others to carry the load

  • Regards goals as suggestions

  • Always seeks the easy way out

  • Is unwilling to accept feedback and guidance

  • Steps back when it’s time to step up

  • Understands and resolves A-level matters before B-level and C-level matters

  • Uses sound judgment and insights when rank-ordering projects

  • Serves as a valuable resource to determine the role and priority of totally different tasks

  • Always knows which projects belong at the top of the list and which belong at the bottom

  • Easily and quickly singles out low-priority tasks

  • Clarifies priorities for employees at any job level

  • Prevents others from pursuing minor projects that superficially appear to be important

  • Quickly and accurately calibrates project priorities

  • Is keenly aware of the subtleties that make one project more important than another

  • Places work priorities over personal priorities

  • Adapts his workload and priorities to meet workplace demands

  • Breaks projects into logical pieces to make sure that top priorities are handled first

  • Is able to set priorities when under great pressure

  • Tackles high-value projects first

  • Targets efforts on tasks with the largest payoff

  • Uses multi-tasking to handle low-priority items

  • Understands priorities and how to establish them

  • Discusses priorities when there is confusion

  • Is unafraid to ask questions about priorities

  • Shifts priorities as needed

  • Clarifies and then correctly handles competing priorities

  • Is very cognizant of priorities and adjusts focus as necessary

  • Reviews priorities before starting tasks

  • Confuses priorities with preferences

  • Starts working before prioritizing

  • Uses inappropriate criteria in determining what to do first

  • Leaves major projects until the end

  • Argues over priorities

  • Decides on priorities and rigidly sticks to them, even when situations call for flexibility

  • Sees unessential matters as essential and vice versa

  • Lacks insight into her own ability to handle priorities

  • Is easily sidetracked by low-value tasks

  • Ignores priorities of assigned projects

  • Treats all assignments as having essentially the same priorities

  • Places no priority on setting priorities

  • Randomly prioritizes assignments

  • Works on lowest priorities first

  • Sees only the small picture

  • Spends too much time on low-level priorities and too little time on major priorities

  • Wallows in trivial matters

  • Performance review season is never fun. It can be a struggle for managers to properly describe a behavior exhibited by an employee, so we tried to make it easier by listing a few performance review phrases below. They are grouped by category to make it easy to find inspiration.

    Two pieces of advice before you get started. First, at Friday Feedback, we make establishing dialogue easier, so you don’t have to bottle up things for a performance review. It's called agile performance management.

    Second, please make sure when completing a performance review that you outline behaviors, not personality traits. We discuss this in more detail in our post about giving feedback. Behaviors can be changed. Do your best to focus on that. With that being said, let’s get started.

    1.) Flexibility


    • Constantly identifies more efficient ways of doing business
    • Is accepting of constructive criticism
    • Is a well-versed team player capable of handling a variety of assignments
    • Is calm under pressure
    • Is a calming force, especially with [his/her] peer group
    • Shows initiative, and is flexible when approaching new tasks.

    Needs Improvement:

    • Does not excel at activities which require a high degree of flexibility
    • Tends to resist activities where the path is unknown
    • Appears uninterested in new duties
    • Becomes uptight when the plan changes

    2.) Attendance/Punctuality


    • Is punctual and consistently on-time to meetings
    • Arrives at meetings on time and is always prepared
    • Attained perfect attendance over $time_period
    • Schedules time-off according to company policy
    • Completes deadlines as promised

    Needs Improvement:

    • Does not meet attendance standards for punctuality
    • Has exceeded the maximum number of vacation days allotted
    • Is frequently late to work
    • Does not return communications in a timely manner

    3.) Communication


    • Regularly gives constructive feedback
    • Is willing to entertain others ideas
    • Asks great questions
    • Explains tough issues in a way that is clear to the rest of the team
    • Is not afraid to say “I don’t know” when presented with a tough question.
    • Is effective at summarizing and communicating key business decisions.
    • Stands out among his/her peers for outstanding communication skills
    • Is effective at persuading and convincing peers, especially when the stakes are high
    • Is an effective listener, always willing to listen and understand peers objections
    • Makes new employees feel welcome
    • Acts as a calming force when the team is under pressure

    Needs Improvement:

    • Blames others for problems
    • Complains of lack of resources to adequately complete job functions
    • Fails to alert proper personnel regarding bad news
    • Regularly engages in off putting conversations, can be territorial at times
    • Humiliates staff members on a regular basis
    • Has trouble communicating effectively in groups
    • Has other coworkers deliver bad news instead of doing it himself/herself
    • Makes others feel intimidated when working on company projects

    4.) Creativity


    • Thinks outside the box to find the best solution to a particular problem
    • Is creative and finds ways to correlate ideas with action
    • Artfully changes when presented with new information and ideas
    • Is always willing to directly challenge the status quo in pursuit of a more effective solution
    • Contributes fresh ideas regularly
    • Encourages coworkers to be inventive
    • Contributes innovative ideas in group projects
    • Contributes suggestions regularly on how to improve company processes

    Needs Improvement:

    • Demonstrates disinterest in contributing creative or innovative ideas
    • Is rigid and unwilling to adjust when presented with new information
    • Fails to properly attribute coworkers who contribute innovative solutions
    • Seems unwilling to take risks, even when presented with a compelling reason
    • Fails to incentivize peers to take creative and innovative risks
    • Is reluctant to find more effective ways to do job activities

    5.) Customer Relations


    • Works effectively with clients
    • Has strong rapport with those he/she interacts with
    • Enjoys the people related aspects of the business
    • Is pleasant and projects a friendly tone over the phone
    • Has become a linchpin with clients
    • Consistently spearheads effective customer relations
    • Is empathetic towards customer issues
    • Is direct, yet helpful in dealing with customer concerns
    • Displays an effective cadence when working with clients on projects. Is effective, not overbearing
    • Artfully helps customers overcome objections
    • Can handle difficult customers with grace

    Needs Improvement:

    • Consistently receives substandard comments from customers
    • Appears disinterested in helping customers with their challenges
    • Does not manager customer expectations, especially in tough situations
    • Consistently passes challenging issues to others instead of tackling them head-on
    • Misses opportunities to further educate customers about other products or services.
    • Uses inappropriate language with customers
    • Appears to become frustrated by clients who ask questions
    • Displays sarcasm when dealing with client challenges

    6.) Goals


    • Is effective at goal-setting and challenging oneself
    • Clearly communicates goals and objections to coworkers
    • Is constantly striving to be the best he/she possibly can be
    • Sets concrete and measurable goals
    • Sets aggressive targets to meet business objectives
    • Creates clearly defined goals that align with the company’s mission
    • Proactively shares progress on goals

    Needs Improvement:

    • Is inconsistent in defining goals and objectives
    • Struggles to set goals that align with company objectives
    • Sets performance goals that are out of touch with reality
    • Struggles to communicate when deadlines will be missed
    • Leaves peers struggling to understand the status of a project
    • Refuses to delegate to others, attempts to do all the work by himself/herself
    • Is unwilling to claim responsibility for missed goals
    • Is easily distracted and disinterested in focusing to achieve performance goals

    7.) Drive

    • Constantly pursues learning opportunities
    • Consistently takes on additional responsibility for the team
    • Successfully finds more effective ways to perform a specific task
    • Is constantly looking for new ways to help the team
    • Is always willing to jump in and learn something new
    • Requires little direction when given a new responsibility
    • Is not afraid to take calculated risks
    • Is not afraid to make periodic mistakes

    Needs Improvement:

    • Is unwilling to assume responsibilities outside of his/her job description
    • Frequently sows seeds of doubt with the rest of the team
    • Resists opportunities to train and learn new things
    • Contributes few suggestions to projects with ambiguity
    • Can be overzealous, stepping on others’ toes
    • Seems unwilling to learn new things
    • Struggles to do tasks without assistance from peers

    Quick tip: Use Friday Feedback and complement your performance reviews with more data and employee insights.Try it free.

    8.) Understanding of Job Responsibilities


    • Has a strong understanding of job responsibilities
    • Regularly alerts management of key developments in his/her job function
    • Has deep knowledge that surpasses job expectations
    • Regularly contributes and works with other departments
    • Crafts an extensive network of peers to tackle tough issues
    • Shares knowledges with peers
    • Is constantly sharing industry trends and best practices to create outsized outcomes
    • Is adept in all areas of job responsibility

    Needs Improvement:

    • Has little understanding of competitive landscape
    • Has difficulty locating necessary information to complete job responsibilities
    • Produces many unnecessary errors
    • Produces substandard work
    • Fails to demonstrate a strategic mindset
    • Does not demonstrate mastery of basic concepts in role

    9.) Judgement


    • Shows sound judgement when evaluating multiple opportunities
    • Comes to reasonable conclusions based on information presented
    • Is fact-based, and refuses to accept emotional arguments when evaluating a decision
    • Remains calm, especially under stress
    • Balances swift decision-making, with the ability to analyze the many angles to a story
    • Is confident and persuasive when making big decisions
    • Consistently understands the core issues at play, enabling him/her to solve problems at remarkable pace
    • Makes confident decisions when presented with facts and data.
    • Effectively prioritizes urgent matters with those that can wait
    • Effectively outlines best case (and worst case) scenarios to aid decision-making

    Needs Improvement:

    • Makes hasty decisions without first collecting facts & data to inform decision-making process
    • Consistently displays analysis paralysis when making a decision
    • Makes big decisions without approval from respective parties
    • Is unable to keep confidential information private
    • Approaches decisions with a one-track mindset. Has a “my way or the highway” view of others ideas.

    10.) Leadership


    • Is a servant-leader, always willing to help his/her team
    • Gives structure, feedback and direction to his/her team
    • Consistently recognizes his/her team for a job well done
    • Actively listens to his/her team
    • Creates a culture of dialogue
    • Recognizes staff for a job well done
    • Provides just enough conflict to find the best outcome
    • Balances the strategy of the organization with tactical day-to-day tasks
    • Demonstrates a high bar for ethical behavior

    Needs Improvement:

    • Tends to overanalyze problems when a prompt decision is required
    • Fails to plan for the future
    • Sends mixed signals to the team regarding goals and day-to-day activities
    • Rarely gives recognition to his/her team
    • Sets unreasonably high expectations for his/her team
    • Fails to keep confidential information secret
    • Plays favorites and does not treat each member of the team equally

    11.) Listening Skills

    • Is an active and focused listener
    • Makes sure the team feels heard
    • Creates healthy dialogue to help the best solution come forward
    • Listens with an open mind
    • Demonstrates a sincere appreciation for opposing viewpoints
    • Actively seeks feedback, even when it’s not in agreement
    • Asks insightful questions to understand the root cause
    • Empathizes with others who have opposing viewpoints
    • Follows instructions with care and attention

    Needs Improvement:

    • Asks questions that show he/she is not actively listening to conversation at hand
    • Is distracted easily and doesn’t fully absorb another person’s point of view
    • Interrupts peers
    • Constantly interjects into conversations
    • Dismisses other people’s ideas who she/he doesn’t agree with
    • Stops listening when presented with an opposing viewpoint

    That's all for now. We'll continue to update this list of phrases in the future. We hope it helped!

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