That knot in the pit of your stomach has a tendency to reappear about twice per year – and you can generally predict the date and even the time of day for the first symptoms.
Next Tuesday is your Performance Evaluation discussion with your boss – where you’ll sit there and wait to find out whether you’re performing acceptably – or destined for job oblivion.
If you’re like many you’ll pop another antacid and walk into that meeting with the same trepidation the accused in a capital crime might – hoping the jury’s decision exonerates. Powerless.
I asked Tim Cole, the CEO of The Compass Alliance and the author of The Compass Solution: A Guide to Winning Your Career, why so many suffer through performance evaluations. The answers might surprise you!
- So, what’s happening with reviews? Are we really just victims waiting to hear what the boss has to say?
No! In fact, with basic guidance and a more informed approach every employee can change that dynamic.
- Say more about that – are you saying there are steps we all should take in preparing for performance reviews?
Here are ten difference makers:
- Make certain you know the expectations for your job. It might sound stupid but remember that your interpretation of your role and your manager’s could differ – sometimes radically.
- Make sure you understand how you will be trained. Without training you are being set up for failure.
- Take ownership in soliciting and in receiving feedback and do it as early and as often as possible. It’s your career. You either drive or you are a passive reactor. Take the steering wheel.
- Ask for as many examples of excellence as you can handle. It’s hard to demonstrate outstanding performance if you don’t know what it looks like to begin with.
- Take notes when the subject of performance arises. Too many people fly by the seat of their pants. Don’t be one of them.
- Decide that your performance evaluation is something you can heavily influence. Every formal meeting with your manager should include some degree of discussion around how you’re tracking on performance.
- Call out early on that you expect to be a top performer. Engage your manager in that undertaking. Challenge them to help you get there.
- Document your successes. Make that a dynamic record. The alternative is Creative Writing 101—the mindless search to justify your greatness and to meet the time line for your review.
- Never pass on the opportunity to comment in writing on your review. That electronic summary is a legal document. Treat it accordingly.
- Retain every Performance Review you receive. Plan to reference those documents as a potential Free Agent for the rest of your professional life.
The decision to lead through your review is yours. Like so much of life – and your career – it’s the choices we make that dictate the quality of the journey.