How To Have an Awesome Performance Review

It’s that time of year again, and it’s not just the holiday season! Many companies which operate on a calendar-year basis are gearing up for performance reviews.  If you work with a life or career coach, perhaps you’ve already started preparing for the conversation with your manager. If you haven’t thought much about it, no worries, because there are still some things you can do to proactively manage the process. Below are a few ideas to help you have an awesome performance review this year!

When. Be proactive with your manager and schedule time with them. Don’t wait for your manager to reach out to you – you could end up with an appointment at a time during the day or week when everyone’s tired and not their best. You want your manager to be well rested and feeling good when you have this conversation!

What. When you prepare your self-assessment, certainly highlight your business results. You also want to share brief commentary on the “how” – the skills, knowledge, and relationships that you leveraged across the organization to get the job done. You’re an awesome partner to your colleagues, so don’t be shy telling your manager how well you work with others. Like-ability is a huge factor!  Be brief, though – managers don’t always have time for pages and pages of prose.

Understanding Your Strengths. We all tend to focus on areas of improvement rather than our strengths. Improving weaker areas is fine, but don’t lose site of your natural talent and those things that come easily to you. Think about taking a strengths assessment (your coach can help with this), and use the results to highlight those areas in your self assessment. A  objective framework for highlighting your strengths can help position you for special projects where your natural talent complements colleagues, can help you understand the types of people/talents with which to surround yourself, and can give your leaders ideas for your future career progression.

Don’t Forget Your Development Plan. This is a big one, too. So often, we are focused on the business results that we spend previous little time on action steps we will take to develop ourselves professionally. What skills do you want and need to develop in the current role? For future roles? What is your plan to obtain the experience and develop those skills? What resources do you need from the company to assist in that process? Make your development plan your own, and be proactive with your manager. This is probably the most important part of your review process.

Who. I don’t know about you, but the whole 360 process of obtaining feedback from colleagues can be frustrating; people don’t provide constructive comments in a way that is actionable for the recipient.  Take charge of your feedback process and meet with a few people you trust who will give it to you straight. Have a conversation over coffee or lunch before you write your self-assessment, share with them your ideas of your strengths and areas for improvement, and get the real scoop. Then use this insight and share the process with your manager.  Not many people take this step, and your manager will be impressed that you took initiative.

How. Understand the talent review process at your company. How are ratings determined, is there a forced distribution, who weighs in on your rating (and compensation), is there a cross-functional review process, and who else is at the table when it’s all being discussed. Understanding the process and the players involved can help you know how to position your results for the year, and having mentors or advocates at the table on your behalf can help with visibility for you down the road.

Good luck this year!

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