Are you looking forward to your upcoming performance evaluation? Or dreading it?

A statement that I hear many times as a coach is – I did so much during the year, but my boss will only remember what went wrong!

Do you feel performance evaluations are not fair?

Often, they are not because –

  • They are a function of the subjective value your boss places on your work and your relationship with your boss.
  • Many traits that are valuable to get things done, e.g., collaboration, initiative, and ingenuity, are difficult to measure objectively.
  • Bosses are human beings with busy schedules, short memories, conscious and unconscious biases, and other human failings just like the rest of us.

While you can work around most of the above factors, it takes time and consistent effort. It does not happen in the month of the performance appraisal.

Here are some steps that you can consistently take for a positive performance appraisal –  

Highlight your achievements often

Do not assume that your bosses will note and remember all your achievements. They have many team members and additional responsibilities to take care of. You must share your accomplishments often and systematically. Follow the following tenets as you do that –

  • Focus on the outcomes of your actions – Share how your work impacted your stakeholders, team, organization, and clients, i.e., what are the problems you solved for them, what value/impact did you create for them, what is the evidence to showcase your impact, what feedback did you receive from them. These data points will highlight the value of your work. They will also indicate that you connect with the purpose of your role.
  • Connect your work to the team/organizational objectives – Frame how it helps your team/organization meet its objectives.
  • Build credibility by also sharing the lessons learned along the way. It reflects on you as an objective and confident professional.

Genuinely connect with your boss

Everyone likes to work with people they know, like, and trust. Figure out ways to build a connection with your boss. Know what their priorities are and what they worry about. Know them as people, their likes and dislikes. Figure out if you have any common interests. Offer to support them. Acknowledge them for their support and guidance. Make them look good with your work, too. 

Be open-minded and courageous

Be ready to receive feedback, accept it as a gift, and work to improve in the identified areas. This is your opportunity to course correct. Next time you have this conversation, include the steps you took after receiving the feedback. Also, share what you need from your boss to be more effective.

Share your aspirations

Share the skills you look forward to developing and the roles you aspire to do in the coming days and seek help from your boss in the form of training, coaching, and experiential learning.

Proactive steps can help navigate performance appraisals in a way that honors your impact and facilitates your growth. Regularly highlighting achievements with a focus on their outcomes and alignment with team objectives is crucial. Building a genuine connection with your boss, demonstrating openness to feedback, and sharing aspirations for growth can pave the way for a more positive performance appraisal. Finally, fostering a relationship of trust and mutual support will ensure recognition of one’s contributions and professional development.

PS – Need help acing your performance appraisals? Claim your complimentary consult and discover how I can help.