Originally posted on 3rd June 2015

It’s that time of year, within a few weeks your line manager will probably ask you to write your self-assessment for your mid-year review.  If your company does central performance management it’s likely that you will be scored against your objectives and somehow benchmarked against your peer group.

The measurement practices may be clear, but your position on the “great employee” chart may rely on the strength of your line manager fighting your corner in a wider meeting.   Which is a yucky practice that undermines people who perform well but can’t tell their story or have inadequate line managers.

For many people this cyclical statistical way of managing performance is painful.  They think that telling others about their accomplishments is boasting and big-headed.  They find it stressful and disloyal to be assessed against their peers and are even more uncomfortable to know that someone in “head office” is crunching data that may jeopardise their future position, and maybe even their livelihood.

That said, when done well the mid-year review is a really productive 2-way conversation that meshes comfortably to the ongoing conversations you have with your boss, your team and your bosses boss.   I think it can be a great opportunity to take stock, gather feedback and re-energise your alignment to your employer.

To help here are 3 tips, in no particular order, to help you when thinking about your self-assessment.

  1. Be realistic –Look at your objectives and make notes on what you have achieved so far, what challenges have existed and what has not been accomplished.  It’s smart and grounding to recognise where you are, it demonstrates emotional maturity and lets others see you have a clear understanding of the state of the business and your valuable input to it.   Do a line by line assessment of each objective and seek evidence that the measure is being met.  Make sure you are clear when there is no relevant MI – you need to understand how your manager is measuring this.  Fibbers nearly always get caught and look silly when the numbers don’t stack up, so don’t over-egg it.
  2. Be in control –If you have truly been realistic you will have identified that you did a bunch of stuff that wasn’t on your objectives.  It’s time to tell how and why you spent time off the original track.  Review back to last year to see where progress has been made and identify any training that has helped or new support that you need.  Being in control of your emotional self is also important; I’m not saying don’t be emotional, I’m just saying make sure you are displaying what you want to. Emotive words really change the mood, what do some of these “A” words say? Afraid, Amazed, Anxious, Aligned, Astonished, Amused, Alienated.
  3. Blow your own trumpet – make sure you sing, crow, fly around and shout out your achievements, highlight those that were over and above expectations.  Perhaps include notes of thanks from customers, stakeholders, peers and your line manager.  Be specific about why you were recognised and be generous recognising others that supported you, usefully that will show how well you connect and what support you value.

I can hear you saying “yeah, yeah yeah, but how am I going to do that?”

Here’s my free coaching technique, make a list of the stuff you did, seek clues and evidence from everywhere .  Think broadly, review mails, review your diary to see where you time was spent, look at central management data to see what’s going well or not and is relevant to your role, speak to your peers, note any recognition you got, note who you spent time with and if this was focussed on your role, remember any late nights or super early mornings, think about how you have responded to change in the period.  Consider any extra projects or non-role related initiatives you were involved with e.g. volunteering, mentoring, networking groups, industry events and so on.  The list is the core of your thinking that you can enrich to tell a story, see if you recognise themes and if so talk about them, where possible align the themes to the company values.

Finally make sure you and your line manager agree and document any changes.  Oh, and one more thing, if you start capturing your list for right now you’ll find it much easier at year end.

If you liked this article, let me know by email to SueSchilling@outlook.com or on twitter @sue_schilling


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