Are you Tango Mid-Year Ready? Five Top Tips for Mid-Year Reviews

As we dice with the winter blues and long dark nights, the golden halo of the mid-year review shines bright.  Through the depths of winter we can look forward to the potential of this reflective period and see this as a bold opportunity, and not a tick-box encounter of performance management ages past where both leave dissatisfied and unfulfilled, not realising the full potential of this reconnecting time and space.

The success of the tango is founded on the success of how two dancers move with and between each other.  According the font-of-all knowledge Wikipedia, ‘the Tango’s frame, called an abrazo or “embrace”, is not rigid, but flexibly adjusts to different steps, and may vary from being quite close, to offset in a “V” frame, to open. The flexibility is as important as is all movement in dance’.  This analogy plays out well with a view of reconnecting through a mid-year learning and development review; taking the opportunity to come alongside and reconnect. 

In investing in each other, in focusing on individual strengths and how they can be optomised, and in focusing on how learning can develop all team members, the team is enhanced, and high performance abounds.

It’s all about the conversation!

As a leader of talent, professional learning and development, I see this as an awesome opportunity to check-in, to focus on the individual within the organisation. I am primed and ready; tango ready!  But are you ready, are your team ready?  For ultimate success it, of course, takes two to tango!


So, here goes, my top five tips for team leads to be tango mid-year ready!

  1. Find ways to share your own learning and development this year.  Model a learning culture with your teams before beginning the mid-year reviews. ‘Leaders need to be lead learners in order to lead learning’[i].
  2. Ensure ample time is arranged to have meaningful dialogue with your team; consider optimum timing, place and space for you both. 
  3. Be prepared! Know the professional objectives of your team and that you’ve read any comments, thoughts and reflections they’ve written (as you will have encouraged them to reflect prior to your meeting).
  4. Have a great conversation.  This requires you actively listening; yours should not be the prevalent voice.  Acknowledge the successes, potential challenges and have an honest constructive discussion.
  5. Agree next steps to ensure ultimate success with agreed goals.  Make any adjustments required and stay focused on the overall aim.

This opportunity to dance together, to reconnect is, of course, not limited to solely the mid-year point.  But this mid-year marker in the winter sands, encourages us to ensure that the individuals that make up our communities remain firmly front and centre.  These are the people that make the difference, these are the people that will deliver outstanding education environments for our outstanding education organisations.  Let’s prepare for our tango mid-year tryst!


[i] Davies, B & Davies, B.J. (2011). Talent management in education. 10.4135/9781446250907.


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