How to Crush Your Performance Review
It’s just an average Thursday when you receive the dreaded email from your manager – “It’s performance review time again. Can we meet next Tuesday to discuss”? Ugh.
Performance reviews can be a stressful activity for you and your manager. Your manager probably doesn’t relish the opportunity to do extra paperwork and critique his team, and you probably don’t look forward to the added scrutiny.
Although they can be stressful, performance reviews are actually a good thing. It’s a great opportunity for you to get one-on-one time with your manager, reflect on and celebrate the successes of the past year, and learn how you can be even more successful in your position moving forward. You might even get a bonus or raise out of it.
So instead of dreading your annual review meeting, you should get prepared to make the most out of it. Here are some key things you can do to crush your annual review this year.
Shift your mindset and how you approach the meeting. Don’t view your performance review as something that you have to “get through”. See it as an opportunity to highlight your successes of the past year. Managers have to keep track of their whole team and it’s easy for them to forget why you’re so awesome.
A few days before your meeting, go through your calendar and project files to remind yourself of all your accomplishments over the past year. Prepare documents or files that can demonstrate your accomplishments.
Try to think of a situation where you went above and beyond the responsibilities of your role. This will help you remember what’s happened over the past 12 months so that you can be ready to share your successes with your manager.
Take it Seriously
Treat your performance review like a follow-up interview. You want to present the best version of yourself and that means being well prepared and well dressed.
This is an opportunity for your manager to assess your contributions and they may be considering you for a promotion, more responsibilities, or a performance bonus.
Have a professional approach to the meeting just as you did with your interview when you were first hired.
Know Your Weaknesses
In every performance review, there’s always a question about weaknesses or areas for improvement. If you identified a weakness in last year’s review, what have you done to improve them?
Be ready to tell your manager how you’ve improved over the past year and how you plan to address any issues going forward.
Acknowledging your weaknesses and how you’re going to fix them tells your manager that you’ve taken the time to make a self-assessment of your performance.
Review Your Goals
If you have them, bring the goals from the previous year and be prepared to speak on them. Did you meet those goals? Why or why not? What are the ways you were able to achieve those goals? What benefit have they provided?
Do you want a promotion or do you want to cross train and learn something new? Have goals prepared for the year going forward that your manager can help with, be sure to share them. Showing that you want more responsibility or to learn new things, demonstrates to your manager that you’re ambitious. Your performance review is the perfect time to write down these goals, make them S.M.A.R.T., and make a road map of how you’re going to accomplish them. Your manager wants you to be successful and meet your goals – be sure to let them know how they can help.
Even if you have a huge list of accomplishments over the past year, it’s likely that your performance review could include some constructive criticism. It’s important to remember that no one is perfect and that some negative feedback doesn’t negate all the great work you’ve done. Try to listen to all feedback with an open mind and try your best not to be defensive or emotional. Keep in mind that your manager is providing feedback because they want you to improve and succeed. If you’re not prepared to discuss the negative feedback during your meeting, it’s perfectly okay to request a follow-up meeting with your manager to discuss it at a later date.
Is there Anything Else?
If your manager is new or inexperienced, they may not be entirely comfortable providing a lot of criticism or feedback. If you think that your manager has left something out or just not provided you with enough feedback, now is a good time to ask for it. Simply asking “is there anything I can do better” is a good way to open up that conversation.
When you’re going into your performance review this year, get excited and remember that there’s a lot in it for you. Review meetings are a great time to remind your manager why they hired you and how you contribute to the organization. If you want more responsibility or to learn a new skill, this is the time to let your manager know so that they can help you make it happen.
Looking for advice before you enter your performance review? Feel free to contact us.