Friday, January 19, 2007

January 19, 2007 – Avoiding Unwanted Appraisal Comments

Annual reviews are a necessary evil. Everyone needs to get a clear picture of their performance and how it measures up against what is expected. Few people enjoy writing them and, unfortunately, not all employees are going to like what they find out. As managers we try to make positive comments but spin can only go so far. Hopefully you will never receive any of the following comments on your review.
· Consistently fails to meet his own low expectations.
· Encourages others to complete his assigned tasks.
· Redundantly fills out forms with useless information.
· Successfully manages personal business during office hours.
· Shows strong leadership skills in the area of bad decisions.
· Contributes non-helpful comments during meetings.
· Great example of what not to do.

So how do you keep from ending up on the lame end of a bad review?

Confirm expectations. A job description is a good place to start but usually isn’t the full picture. The last sentence for most jobs reads “and other duties as necessary.” Even if you have been employed at the same place for a while, ask your manager if there are additional responsibilities you should be taking on.

Set Goals. Look beyond the description of your current position and understand the requirements for the next two levels up. Pick specific behaviors or activities that meet or exceed the expectations for those levels and work toward them. If you are successfully performing beyond current expectations it will show up in your appraisal.

Record Accomplishments. Keep track of the projects and efforts you are a part of, especially the benefits achieved for the company. If you get an email from someone giving you kudos for a job well done, keep it. Use them when you fill out your self-appraisal to add specific examples to your statements.

Practice Safe Self-Promotion. I had a co-worker many years ago that continuously talked about how great he was and why he deserved to be promoted. Very annoying. I am not suggesting you do that, but a little plug for yourself at opportune times is sometimes necessary. If you are looking for an advance, express an interest and ask what the requirements are. When your team accomplishes something positive let management know about it.

Good appraisals and subsequent promotions don’t just happen because you do a bang up job at the same thing every day. Without setting goals based on a solid understanding of what is expected and working to exceed those expectations you may be settling for mediocre reviews.

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