Performance reviews aren’t limited to you assessing your staff. Your boss also evaluates your own performance. Now it’s you sitting in the hot seat. Even though you may have undergone many such reviews in your career, it’s always a bit disquieting to be in that spot. You feel like a kid sitting in the school principal’s office. You may even feel jittery and ill at ease, even though you have a good relationship with your boss. Maybe you’re scared, especially if you and your boss have a shaky relationship. Most people have these kinds of reactions even when they know they have done good work. It’s human nature to fear such an important meeting. So much depends on it:
Here are some tips to help you handle this situation:
Review your own performance.
Whether or not your company requires employees to make self-evaluations, do it. Take a blank copy of the review form and fill it out. This will allow you to think about your performance in the same way your boss does.
List your accomplishments.
Include all the special things you did over the past year to contribute to the success of the department. Give specifics, such as how much you exceeded quotas, the amount of money one of your suggestions saved the company, tough problems you solved, and so on.
Consider your deficiencies.
None of us is perfect. You probably did some things that didn’t work out and have areas in which you know you can do better. Your supervisor is likely to bring this up at the review. Instead of thinking up excuses, point out what you have already done or what you plan to do to improve your skills in those areas.
At the interview, listen attentively.
Do not interrupt except to ask clarifying questions. Under no circumstances should you disagree or try to rebut a point. Let the supervisor finish before you make any comments.
Now is the chance to make your rebuttal. If you have carefully prepared a list of accomplishments and are cognizant of your deficiencies, you are ready to make your points. Start by thanking your supervisor for his or her support over the past year. Then say: “I understand what you have told me and I appreciate your frankness. However, there are certain accomplishments of which I am particularly proud and for which you complimented me at the time, which you may not have taken into consideration in the review.” Then enumerate the items. If the supervisor focused on some of your deficiencies, don’t make excuses for them. Instead, talk about what you are doing to overcome them. Suggest that before the evaluation is made final, these be considered.
Set goals for the future.
If you had set goals for this year at last year’s review, discuss how close you came to reaching them. If, during the year, they changed, discuss the circumstances. Now, discuss your goals for the ensuing year. Get your boss’s agreement that these are worthwhile goals and then commit yourself to attain them.