It is that time of the year again when you get to know how well you have (been perceived to have) done and I am oh so familiar with the jitters that come with this period, the panic, the worry, the thoughts “have I done enough?” I thought to share some tips which should make the process as painless as possible. Whether you are an appraiser yourself or you are being appraised or both, I hope you find something useful to pick up.
There should be no surprises here. Most organizations let you know well ahead that there will be appraisals at the end of the year. You should not just rush through and tick off on the appraisal form. You need to reflect on how the year has been and how compare it with how you planned it to be. What were listed out as areas for development last year? Have you grown in these areas? A lot of thought should go into your appraisal process and must not be done hastily without deep reflection and purpose.
Dredge your mails
Humans tend to forget. That is why cities put up monuments to remind themselves and others of what they have gone through and conquered. Since you can’t put up a statue on your desk, you may need to remind yourself and decision-makers and appraisers of how your year has been.
Go to your “sent” mailbox and read all the mail exchange between your supervisor (any other person you work with or report to) and yourself. Have a pen and paper in hand and write out major achievements, commendations given to you, highlight the deals you closed and the important meetings you excelled at. Write it all down. Remind yourself of how exactly the year has been.
What this exercise achieves is the following: (a) you build your confidence and ward off anxiety and fear. You remind yourself that you are indeed a great and efficient member of staff who has been pulling their weight in the work place (hopefully!) and this surge of confidence will help you in filling out your self-assessment form as well as during the one to one with your manager. (b) The idea is not to use it as a sword but as a shield in the situation where your manager develops amnesia on you and suddenly asks “oh you mean you’re on my team!”. You can then politely highlight some of your key achievements and hopefully, this should do the trick.
Brag with wisdom
If your organisation’s appraisal system gives you room to be heard (which every good system should do), highlight your strengths with examples. You need to remind the organization of how useful and productive you have been to the team. This is the time dredging your mails will prove handy. We all wish every supervisor will look into our eyes and remember what useful gems we are but alas, they have 10-20 people they are dealing with. You have to help them help you… with wisdom.
You should also use the opportunity to discuss areas of concern: that is things that are hampering on your ability to maximize your productivity. You know your organization best and know what issues should be addressed. Use this period to open up on these issues.
Discuss the company’s plan for 2019 and how you fit into it
What is the outlook for 2019? What are your organisation’s challenges? How can things be better? How can you make things better? Be forward-looking and discuss your thoughts and suggested strategy with your boss.
Pray, pray and pray again
The importance of prayer cannot be overemphasized. Carla Harris, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Morgan Stanley once said that when the biggest career decisions are being made about you, you won’t be seated at the table. This brought to the fore for me the importance of favour and prayers. Pray for favour and mercy and that those whose aim it is to stifle your career growth will miss the meeting! Hehe! Flowing from the above, be the answer to someone else’s prayers and show as much compassion to others as you can as you rise at work.
Remember, this is your career we are talking about here and it is your duty to manage it properly so take every opportunity for feedback seriously and put your best foot forward all the time!
I wish you all the best.