In many companies performance appraisals are a yearly meeting between you and your boss to check on your performance, to discuss your development and career aspirations.
Clearly, not an unimportant meeting. When you plan a feedback meeting with your boss, make sure you prepare as well. Although it might seem that your boss should evaluate you and give you a direction to develop into, good feedback conversations are a dialogue between you and your boss. By thoroughly preparing your annual appraisal you can make the most of your meeting, and your future development will be more in your own hands!
How do you think you did? Instead of depending on the feedback of your boss, come up with your own assessment as well. Your boss is not always around you to judge your behaviour. Especially if you are a high-performer, managers do not always see the points you are struggling with. Whether you give feedback to yourself or others, always present it in three steps. In what situation did you perform well or bad, what behaviour was the cause of this performance, and what effect did this behaviour had on your work or on others? For example, instead of saying I believe I performed pretty well. Say: ‘I believe, when I am leading meetings (situation), I am able to steer the conversation to a common goal (behaviour), so that we set the next steps in the project (effect)’. In this way not only you reflect on what you actually did well or wrong, but you also give an understandable description to your boss so she can discuss it effectively. Perhaps she actually thinks you did the right thing! Think of multiple examples where you performed well and could have done better. By coming up with situations yourself, you will get more relevant feedback than if you would rely on the points your boss is raising.
What do you want to learn?
We all know that impossible question from job interviews: ‘where do you want to be in 5 years’. If you are like me… you actually do not know or even if you do, it might change again in a year. Instead of focusing on a vague or wrong goal in 5 years and base your development on that, focus on the road of development over the next years. Draw a 3 year learning plan that would help you grow at 3 levels: Personally, methodologically and in expertise. Examples of personal growth could be improving your negotiation or cross-cultural working skills. Methodologically, you can think about project management skills or specific engineering skills. To develop your expertise, you should think of the area you would like to specialize in, for example a medical direction or digital marketing. You need to define these 3 levels in any type of career and these are often also independent on the goal you are working towards. Don’t go overboard, be realistic about budgets and time constraints and prepare a sound argumentation why these skills are relevant for the company and for you.
Listen & ask
As said before, a feedback conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue from either you or your boss. Listen to what she has to say, if you do not understand it, then ask! Be open for negative feedback, it gives you great development possibilities. Prepare thoroughly and you will make the most out of this meeting.
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