How to Nail Your Performance Review
Most large companies have formal performance development and management discussions on a six-monthly or annual basis. The heavy emphasis from many employers is to use these meetings to assess your performance. That is absolutely a company’s right as they pay your salary. But these discussions are an excellent opportunity for your manager to not only review your progress but for YOU to be able to reflect on your role, your skill set and your aspirations.
So make sure you carefully prepare for these meetings, and ensure that you cover some of the things that would enhance your experience in your role. Here are some suggestions so you can be more proactive in the process.
- Self-reflection – what do you enjoy most about the role?
We accept that for some people, you may feel there is nothing you like about your current job. That is the subject of an entirely different post. But generally, you should be able to think of at least one thing that you enjoy. Here are some ideas:
· Does your job provide you with the opportunity to show initiative?
· Do you have ownership of a project?
· Do you get to do something that you are good at such as negotiating, networking, and writing?
· Do you like the people around you?
Write down what you like about your role and be prepared to share that with your manager. You should start the discussion with this point, even if the discussion is to follow a particular format. It will show your manager that you have appreciation for the role that you have and sets the mood for the rest of the discussion.
- Self-reflection – what have been your achievements in the role for the period being discussed?
If you are in a busy role sometimes it is difficult to remember retrospectively what you have achieved in the previous period under review. A good idea is to keep a record of your achievements as you go along – dot point them somewhere. You may already have a predetermined list of key objectives and targets that your manager has already given you – in which case you should come to this meeting with a record of your progress against those targets. They don’t have to be major points either. If you have a lower to middle level role then you are most likely undertaking tasks that don’t get much flashy attention. But your role is a cog in a wheel so make sure that you record what you are doing, as you do it. Examples of these could be:
- Getting a report in on time (and making sure it was high quality)
- Organising an event (and if there were hiccoughs you managed them with a cool head)
- Managing an important relationship with a client
- Your ability to resolve difficult customer queries
- What strengths do you bring to the role?
Know what you’re good at and bring that list to the meeting. You should always be self-aware enough that you know instinctively what your strengths are in relation to your role. Are you a good organiser? Are you good at using your initiative and planning ahead? Is your work consistently accurate?
- What would you like to improve in your role, and what support and training do you need to be able to do that?
Give some thought to this before you enter this meeting with your manager. It shows your manager that you take your role seriously and you want to do better for the team and your company. If you don’t feel that you need any further training to improve in the role, then now is the time to ask your Manager what you can do to improve. Everybody, even your manager, has room to improve.
- Are there additional collaborations in the company that would benefit your role and your personal development?
Think broadly about how you might extend your network further in the company. Is there anyone who might be a good mentor for you and help you to develop in your role? This is an opportunity for you to propose to your manager any ideas you have about how further collaborations could assist your role and your team.
- Can you take on additional challenges?
If so, let your manager know. Particularly if you have been in your role for some time and you feel that you have mastered your current portfolio of work. Take the opportunity to ask for other things to do. It will be great for your CV, your professional brand and your development. Don’t be one of those employees who is afraid of having too much work and thus say no to additional challenges. What’s worse that having too much to do is having not enough to do.
- What is your workload like and does it need reassessment?
Related to the point above, if your workload is too much, notifying your manager is not a sign of weakness. You have to deliver on your work. It is your manager’s role to ensure the team can do that as a whole. So while workload ebbs and flows, if you need assistance then mention it.
- Last tip – take constructive or negative feedback with a gracious attitude
You are likely to receive both positive and negative feedback from your manager. Take the negative feedback as constructive criticism. Take it graciously. If you don’t think it is fair try not to react in the moment by being defensive. Sometimes it is worth thinking about it for a while and seeing if there just might be an element of truth and thus room for improvement. Reacting in the moment is never a good idea. You started the discussion positively; you want to end it positively.
If you have prepared well for this discussion, a piece of constructive criticism should be viewed as your boss showing interest in your development. To give yourself some time to reflect – even if you do feel a bit defensive – say something like “Thank you for your feedback and I appreciate your interest in helping me improve. I need the opportunity to go away and reflect on it in relation to my performance in my role.”
DotPointz to help you get the most out of your performance management and development discussion with your manager:
- Start the discussion by telling your manager what you most enjoy about the role
- Make sure you have a list of your achievements ready to discuss
- Write down your strengths and how they help you perform the role
- Be ready to acknowledge what you need to improve, and be prepared to ask your Manager for additional training or opportunities to help you do so
- Think about whether you can collaborate with other people in the company
- If you would like to take on more challenges – tell your boss
- Consider your workload – if it is too much and is affecting the quality of your work – tell your boss – there may be opportunity to rearrange your workload
- Take constructive criticism from your manager graciously
This is our personal blog . The views expressed on these pages are our views alone and not those of our respective employers.