Take charge of your next performance review
- Oct 03, 2017
Do you dread your upcoming performance review like a patient being wheeled into surgery? It doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience.
Try taking an active, positive role in the process:
- Learn what to expect. If you’re new to an organization, ask how employee performance is evaluated and what formal reviews consist of. Look at any paperwork you or your manager will have to fill out.
- Document your achievements and efforts. Don’t rely on your manager to remember accomplishments from eight or nine months ago—or on your own memory, for that matter. Keep a workplace diary to record results, training, problems, and anything else that might affect your next review.
- Communicate throughout the year. Ideally, your manager will meet with you on a regular basis to discuss goals and performance. Even if that doesn’t happen, keep him or her informed about what you’re doing, and ask questions designed to show your commitment to high-quality work.
- Contribute to the discussion. Don’t sit back and passively listen to your manager. Talk about your year, ask questions, and renew your commitment to learning new skills and improving your performance.
- Brag (a little). Whether you’re filling out forms or talking face to face, don’t be shy about telling the boss what you’ve accomplished. Be prepared with specific facts and details. (“In May, I completed the Smith project, which generated $100,000 in revenue.) Focus on results, not efforts: Trying to close a deal isn’t as impressive as actually making the sale.
- Don’t get defensive. If the manager criticizes your performance, stay calm. You’re entitled to ask for clarification, and you should try to eliminate confusion about your achievements, but don’t turn the review session into an argument you’ll never win.
- Take something of value away. No matter what happens during the review itself, spend some time after it’s over thinking about what you’ve learned. Under the right circumstances, you’ll have a better idea of what your manager wants and how to succeed during the next review period. Even if the discussion goes poorly, you should pick up some pointers on what to avoid next time.
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