You know your Performance Review is coming up, and you want it to go well – so how do you prepare?
In my experience of coaching so many people over the years, it helps to take the same kind of approach to a performance review as when preparing for an interview. A performance review is about your line manager being able to see how you have contributed to your organisation, understand how you lead and manage the performance of others, and believe in your potential for continued progression. It positions you in the right way to be considered for the kinds of opportunities you want, because you help identify, create and define them.
If you apply these tips you will not only be well-prepared for your next appraisal, but you will go into it with greater clarity, confidence and purpose.
- Take ownership – itʼs your performance appraisal. Itʼs an opportunity for 1 to 1 time with your manager that is focused only on you, so plan to make the most of it.
- Donʼt wait until the week before to prepare! A few weeks before it may all look pretty clear but we all know the likelihood of that remaining the case. I recommend starting to review and prepare at least 6 weeks in advance.
- If you (like most of my coaching clients) struggle to remember all of your wins and achievements when itʼs time for an annual review, it will help to keep a record of your successes throughout the year, noting what you did well, the challenges you faced and how you addressed them. This gives you confidence anytime, and is also evidence that you can easily present when you are asked to describe your own performance in a review.
- Also acknowledge any failures, or times where you simply did not perform as well as expected. Be neutral about what happened; consider the facts and what you have learnt from the experience. Be matter of fact and purposeful about taking your learning forward, rather than defensive
- Get comfortable describing your capabilities and strengths and how they support the strategic objectives of the organisation. This is not the time for modesty, false or otherwise. Neither is it the time for over-stating the case. Your appraisal is the right place to say “I was able to achieve this outcome because . . .” “It was great to be able to save the company so much money” or “my team were behind me and performed well because I was clear about our objectives from the start, coached them in regular 1 to 1ʼs, and used a challenging yet supportive style of leadership.”
- Be aware of how you have grown your network, and how this is adding value to your know-how, resources and capabilities. Donʼt hesitate to communicate this as part of the performance conversation.
- Be open about how you have developed yourself – what have you done outside any corporate development you may have had? What books have you read, what talks did you attend, what research have you carried out and what were the benefits?
- Be prepared to articulate how you lead and manage othersʼ performance. It doesnʼt happen by accident and you must have reasons for why you do what you do – and if it’s working well, your leadership team needs to know.
- Be ready to ask good quality (usually open-ended) questions about your visibility and brand in the organisation – how do others, including your line manager and other senior leaders, see you and your performance? How can you make a bigger impact, a greater contribution, or develop your potential in their eyes?
- Know exactly what you want – and donʼt be afraid to ask for it. Have a clear proposition and rationale for your continued progression, including the support you may need: for example, introductions, financial contributions for additional training or qualifications, sponsorship for special projects. Be ready to present this confidently, also highlighting the benefits to your organisation.
If you want your manager to be in the best position to sponsor you for great opportunities when they arise, this approach will give them the confidence they need to do that.
I hope you like these tips – if you apply them, you will have one of your best performance reviews ever.