Distance Learning Degree

Career Appraisal

Carry out regular performance appraisals on yourself by receiving feedback from your manager.
July is almost over and for many of us, we only have somewhere from two to five months before we are formally appraised. A good question to ask is “How am I really doing?”

Some of us would have already received some indication of our job performance in a midyear review but often, the truth is not out till the year-end appraisal when it is too late to do anything to change it.

A simple and effective way around this problem is to ask for positive and negative feedback. Instead of waiting for your manager to give you feedback, ask for it. A senior manager I know does this every other month with the CEO whom he reports to. The result is that, because of these frequent candid discussions, neither worries about having a difficult performance appraisal discussion at the end of the year.

If it is so easy, why is it that employees do not proactively ask for feedback more often, instead of waiting to be “managed”? Asking for employee feedback is a skilful process. To have a successful discussion, here are some tips to consider.

Prepare your manager
Most managers are not very good at giving impromptu employee feedback. Prepare your manager by making an appointment with him and be very clear about the purpose.

You might say something like “I would like to get some employee feedback from you about my performance. Could we meet next week so that we can discuss what I have done well and what I can do better? This will help me manage my own contributions and also get some coaching from you in the areas I need to improve. I would also like to discuss your expectations of me in the next few months”.

Tell your manager that you would also appreciate examples and solutions to help you plan better. This helps the manager prepare to discuss issues constructively in the feeback process.

Open the discussion with self-assessment. Help the feedback process along by starting with a self performance appraisal. If you are honest, the self performance appraisal will probably cover most of what your manager would like to discuss. You can then proceed to ask your manager about his view of your job performance.

In many feedback process and discussions, the focus is on negative feedback. This leads to an unfair view of your contribution. Start by going through what you think you did well and get positive feedback from your manager to concur. Then, proceed with areas where you have not performed well and be open to additional feedback from your manager.

Be positive during the performance appraisal
While receiving feedback, give and ask for examples. However, be warned that since most managers do not know how to provide effective feedback, they seldom remember examples.

Do not let the details bog down the feedback process and discussion. Instead, be positive and focus on solutions. Be focused on leaving the room with a set of agreed steps to close any perceived gap in job performance. If you are doing this for the first time, it is even more important to keep the tone positive. Most managers would be shocked to be approached for employee feedback, so you will want to ensure that the experience is positive so that they will be open to future discussions.

Agree on performance and development steps. At the end of the feedback process, be clear and transparent about subsequent steps. Come up with a few solutions and ask your manager for advice. Verbally commit to those steps and remember to ask for any resources and support that you need to be successful.

You might also want to confirm his expectations in areas that you are unclear about. For example, questions such as “In this project, how will I be measured?”, “What should I specifically focus on in the next three months?”, and “What are your expectations in this assignment?” can help you understand your manager’s focus while going forward.

Document and execute
When the discussion is over, thank your manager. You might also want to make the next employee feedback appointment with your manager at this time. Then, immediately, document the discussion. For example, you can send an e-mail message to your manager outlining the key areas of agreement and the steps for going forward.

Next, do what both of you have agreed on. Keep your manager informed of your progress and ensure that both of you continue to share information that will help build an effective work relationship.

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