Love them or Hate them but you just can’t escape them! Appraisals are a dreaded reality in the life of every professional! Most people in fact have mixed feelings about this ordeal. You know its appraisal time when you get this knotted feeling in your stomach. You aren’t expecting any huge surprises, but you still feel a little anxious.
Appraisals can be terrifying, particularly in a slow economy ridden with layoffs. Trying to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses impartially can be difficult. And of course, it’s not always enjoyable to hear from your boss about the ways you need to get better. Fortunately, a poor performance review doesn’t have to mean your career is going downhill. In fact you can use the feedback you get the right way, and can be on your way to bigger and better things.
Here are some valuable tips to help take the dread out of appraisals:
Preparation is the key
You have to do it. You should go through your last review comments, and collate any “well done you” mails from your manager or co-workers as bullets. At the same time you should be well prepared to hear about your weak points as well. Not only this, your emotions need pre-work as well. To get into the right frame of mind and feel confident and composed before the meeting, make sure you wear an outfit that makes you feel empowered and comfortable in. You can also listen to some music that relaxes you.
Showcase the details:
For starters, you often have to fill in a form talking about areas for discussion some days in advance. Don’t just scribble some notes on the form and think up some vague answers to the questions that you know are coming. There are chances that you might get nervous and forget the core of your achievements. So as you get ready, write down the most striking details of every successful job that you have done. Assemble your own evidence of performance. Collect letters of appreciation, dates and times of project completion, statistics showing how you helped the company. Back up a rebuttal with facts, not emotion.
Do a self-evaluation
It’s a great idea to do a self-evaluation. Preferably, you should use the same appraisal form that your manager will use. You should rate your performance only after going through each skill and goal. Be candid in your ratings. The purpose of this exercise is not to campaign for good ratings, but to share your perception of your performance with your manager before your appraisal meeting.
You can use the details from your list of accomplishments to provide summaries of your goals. It can also help in citing detailed examples of your work to endorse your ratings. Sharing your rating with your boss prior to the meeting will also help you flag off any differences well in advance.
Come up with a new action plan
Trying to think through your goals for the forthcoming year is often the most difficult part of the meeting, but realizing your role in a larger company framework is also what can differentiate you as an employee. Think of what you want to undertake on the job and what all you wish to do for your personal professional growth. You’ve got to put down out a plan for your manager; you can’t sit back and wait for him or her to tell you what your priorities should be. And it’s great to give the meeting a forward-looking, constructive orientation.
Finally, remember that dealing with appraisal is an on-going process. Think of them as a golden opportunity to work together with your boss to draft your own report that looks back a little bit and looks forward a lot.