How to rock your next performance appraisal
What can women do to rock their next performance appraisal?
Women get different types of feedback to their male colleagues which puts them at a serious disadvantage, so here are three stages to rock your next performance appraisal.
We all know that women get different types of feedback to their male colleagues which puts them at a serious disadvantage. Input can be non-existent, erratic and unreliable, as well as being subject to bias and sexism. How many women have been told they are a bit “too much”, “aggressive,” “edgy,” highly strung” or “emotional?” Most of us at some point. Others have been protected from difficult feedback because of our so-called female fragility. So, given that a guy in your department will get useful feedback in the corridor or the bathroom on a regular basis, what can women do to rock their next performance appraisal?
Annual performance appraisals if carried out correctly can be super helpful to building up some constructive insights into how we are doing in our jobs and become one of the main tools of professional development. However, when a performance review is mishandled it can result in reduced productivity, broken trust and damaged professional relationships, all leading to low morale and even turnover in an organisation.
Don’t let this happen to you. Here are three stages to rock your next performance appraisal
Stage 1 Pre-work
- Be open to feedback
Sending your boss the message that you are open to receiving feedback on an ongoing basis will be important for setting the scene. Letting your manager know that that you would like regular input, gives you the opportunity to make smooth progress all year round, without waiting for that once a year annual meeting. Real time feedback eliminates the possibility of any surprises. Knowing that you could have been working on a problem for months is frustrating.
- Ask for help
Asking your boss for support to meet your goals with a coach, a mentor or additional training is another way of gaining perspective and neutral insights. Feedback from multiple sources is always useful.
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- Develop Self- awareness
Have clarity around your personal goals and the expectations of your boss. If you have KPIs make sure you are on target. If not have good reasons why there are problems. You should have a job description. Are you working successfully within the framework of that role, perhaps even exceeding expectations?
- Keep track of your successes
Women tend to be other centred so forget to keep a record of our own accomplishments and achievements. We also forget to keep track of metrics associated with those achievements. Keep a written record either digitally or in a notebook of your key success stories. How many prospects do you have, how many deals have you closed, or open job vacancies have you filled? What sort of deadlines and budgets do you work to and are you always on track? Who do you deal with? What level of seniority? Keep all this information on hand so you can pull it out to polish before your meeting with your manager.
- Focus on added value
It’s not enough to say you go the extra mile - what does that mean? Concentrate on those little skills and attitudes that make a difference. Do you help colleagues make a successful presentation, do you build consistently good relations, to you coach and mentor junior staff? Make sure you know what they are and share them with your boss!
Personal development and growth happens all year round and not only because of an annual formal meeting. This is of course helpful, it but is no replacement for regular open and constructive feedback.
Stage 2 On the day
- Be prepared
Be clear in your mind the points you want to cover. Make a list if needed. Bring with you all your success stories and achievements from your pre-work and have a clear idea of what your next steps should be.
- Stay neutral
Sometimes hearing criticism can be hard. Make sure you stay in business neutral and take care not to become defensive. If you feel your pulse rising, breathe deeply to calm yourself.
- Ask for clarification
If you do get any vague input “keep up the good work”, “you’re doing great” push for greater clarity “How, where and on what projects?” Insist on more and detailed information. This is also true with negative feedback “You’re too much” - ask exactly what that means and even details of specific instances. Don’t make assumptions.
- Thank your boss
Delivering good feedback in a way that it will be heard is a skill. If your boss has done this – thank him even if the news was not to your liking it will be helpful next year or even beyond that.
Stage 3 - Going forward
- Continue to add value
Look for ways you can continue to add value or even increase your contribution. This might be with a stretch assignment or a new project. Put your hand up and let your boss know that you are open to new opportunities
- Financial assistance
Ask if your organisation will give some financial assistance to adding to your skill set so you can meet your goals. This could be a course, or working with a coach or getting another qualification.
- Input and suggestions
Ask for input and suggestions. Research shows that women are harder on themselves than their bosses, so bask in all those lovely compliments! Maybe your manager has some ideas you hadn't even thought of.
Do you need further help to enable you to rock your next performance appraisal? Then get in touch today!
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