Performance Appraisals Series Part 3:  How You Can Prepare For Your Own Performance Review


Performance Appraisals when used effectively, can be a great way to increase employee engagement.  What if you are the one being reviewed?  How can you ensure that you can effectively highlight your own performance?  This can be a nerve-racking process, but there are steps you can take to better prepare yourself?

This is the third of a four-part Performance Appraisal Series covering the following topics:

  1. Are Performance Reviews Still Worth It?
  2. Delivering an Effective Performance Review
  3. How to Prepare for Your Own Performance Review
  4. Case Study – The Cost of Leaders Being Dishonest about Performance.

Keep in mind your goal throughout the whole process; communicating your progress and performance throughout the year.  View your performance assessment as an opportunity to showcase your accomplishment.  This is your time to shine and to show your commitment to improving your own performance and development.

Here is How You Can Prepare for Your Own Performance Review

Be Proactive

No one is more responsible for your performance than yourself.  Do not wait for the review period to find out if your supervisor recognizes all your accomplishments from the past year.  Prepare your own self-evaluation and send it to your boss ahead of the review period.  Highlight what you feel were your biggest successes.  Think results, not just activities.  Be sure to be specific and quantify whenever possible.

Ensure that you objectively reviewing your strengths as well as weaknesses to show transparency.

  • What areas need improvement?
  • What support, if needed, do you require from your supervisor to help you improve?

If this is not your first review, reread your last performance appraisal focusing on opportunities.  How do you rank today vs one year ago?   What have you improved on?  Where do you currently stand on your commitments from your last development plan?

Manage Your Frame of Mind

Try to look at your performance from your supervisor’s perspective.  Reflect and attempt to predict what your reviewer will say.  How will you respond?

Review notes from past discussions and prepare your personal strategy.  Take responsibility for any misses and determine how you can avoid future roadblocks.

[tweetthis]“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations.” – Ralph Marston[/tweetthis]

Ask Questions

Prepare a list of questions you can ask to determine expectations and clarify any misconceptions.

Some sample questions might be:

What is expected of me?

How will I know if I’m on the right track?

What authority do I have?

What do I need to do to improve?

What are my opportunities for advancement?

Don’t Get Defensive

It can be difficult not to get defensive when someone critiques your work.  I have been there before.  It is important to try to assume your boss has the best intentions and don’t take criticism personally.  If you are not in agreement, avoid being defensive.  Instead, ask for specifics and view this feedback as an opportunity to gain useful information.

During your preparation stage, try to imagine ahead of time what the feedback might be.  Being prepared will allow you to rehearse responses to anticipated feedback.

Be Clear On Your Next Step

The performance appraisal is the first step in your ongoing performance management.  The next and even more important part of the process is in determining what your next steps will be.  Don’t wait for your manager to hand down your goals to you.  Be proactive and draft some possible goals that you can focus on during the upcoming year.  These objectives should be determined based on your job description, your skills, experiences and abilities.  It is a great way to look for opportunities to expand on your duties and broaden your knowledge.

Looking for an expanded role?  Set up goals that will get your closer to your target.

Take advantage of your review to ensure you and your supervisor work together to achieve a win-win situation.  You win by enhancing your skills, your employee wins by your successful results.

Are you looking for the right words you can use to help display your skills?

I have created a PDF guide on some key phrases that leaders can use to help them in delivering a great review. As an employee, you can use this guide as a tool to support the message you want received. Click Here to Download

or click on the Image below.