By: Meredith Masse
Holiday Career Tips: Keeping the Momentum of a Job Search Going During December.
Many companies are opting to encourage managers to have more frequent, real-time performance check-ins with direct reports versus just one, potentially less effective annual conversation. Whether your company has made this shift or not, the final performance review conversation of the year is still a worthwhile and helpful tool to ensure you’re on the same page with your boss about the year that’s ending and the one that’s just ahead. So, as the employee, how do you prepare for this important conversation to make the most of the precious one-on-one time with your boss?
Be proactive and prepared. Even before the boss schedules the conversation, take time to review how your past year’s performance has stacked up based on the goals you set this time 12 months ago. Have you accomplished what you had originally set out to achieve? In what ways were you wildly successful? Be prepared to talk about the results and what made those results possible. In the upcoming year, you’ll probably want to focus on projects that you feel confident will positively contribute to the bottom line anyway, right? While it’s important to remember all of your achievements, it’s also beneficial to reflect on the moments where you might have fallen a little short – remember to be honest with yourself about the potential missteps that happened throughout the year, too.
What goals did you miss and why? Go into this meeting prepared with an accurate look at your past performance and a plan for what you’d like to tackle in the months ahead.
Be open to constructive feedback. While you must actively participate in the conversation, you also need to be ready to listen to what your manager has to say. Reviews, at least good ones, will focus both on the positives on which you can further capitalize as well as areas that are ripe for improvement. It may sound a bit cliché, but do think of the feedback from your boss as a gift. Without it, how would you know what you need to improve upon, so you can share more successes with your team members? Be prepared with your own ideas of areas that are ready for development as well as what you and your boss can do to remove barriers that may have gotten in the way of your success in the past. Be honest with each other, accept feedback openly and take it into consideration when planning for the year ahead. Are there things you can delegate more effectively? Could you work with a partner in some cases in which two heads could be better than one?
Review your job requirements and your strengths. Have an honest look at what the job needs you to do well and what you naturally do well. Do they coincide? If yes, you’re in a great position to maximize success in the year ahead? If no, what can you do to take on more responsibilities that use the best of what you have to offer and delegate some of the tasks that might be better suited to someone else’s strengths? Don’t get me wrong: I am not suggesting you simply waive off important duties just because you don’t like them. But work with your manager to try to closely align what gets done and done well with your natural talents and strengths.
Clarify expectations, set goals, and make a plan. If you’ve had a clear, open and honest conversation with your manager up to this point, this part will be easier (not easy, but easier). Agree on what is expected in terms of your performance going into the new year. Set realistic goals. Then put a plan into action so you can accomplish great things!