How NOT to approach a Performance Appraisal – do these 5 things instead

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Is your Performance Appraisal approaching? Avoid these things:

  1. Don’t think of your appraisal as a test. Because it isn’t. It’s an appraisal of your performance and isn’t intended to catch you out. In many ways, there are no right or wrong answers in an appraisal.
  2. Don’t expect your appraiser to ask all the questions. You can ask questions too. Not just about your performance and development, but also about how your current role fits into your organization and how your career is developed.
  3. Don’t give just Yes or No answers. This is your opportunity to give your side of the story and how you have appraised your own performance. Short answers makes your appraiser’s job much harder, putting your assessment score at risk. Besides, it makes you appear as if you don’t care much.
  4. Don’t go into your appraisal unprepared. You will get as much out of your appraisal as you’re prepared to put in. Turn up at your appraisal with a list of questions about your past performance AND your future objectives and development. Use a swipe-file, in-between appraisals to store relevant information about your performance, achievements and self-assessment.
  5. Don’t defend mistakes or failures. This is a big no-no. Defending failures demonstrates that you don’t take responsibility for them, or have learned from them. Be open about mistakes and how they impacted you, your colleagues and your organization. Demonstrate how you are avoiding them happening again.
  6. Don’t be late or distracted. If you’re late for your appraisal, what does this say about how important it is to you? And don’t let distractions take your focus away. Turn off your cellphone and stay focused.

Instead, do these 5 things:

  1. Be open-minded and willing to learn something. Your appraisal is an investment in you. Accept this gift and honor the process. Listen and reflect on what you hear, and learn from the feedback.
  2. Be honest and accept honesty in return. Appraisals don’t work without honesty – both ways. This isn’t a time to gloss over important issues or lie, as it does you no good in the end. Nobody is perfect and we all have something about ourselves to improve on, so use your appraisal to indentify what those things are and how you can go about it. Equally, you must also expect honesty in return, and accept honest views from your appraiser – no matter how painful they might be to hear.
  3. Be tenacious but not overbearing. If you hear something in your appraisal that you want to know more about (and have the right to know) then don’t let it go – ask more questions and drill down on it until you’re satisfied. However, if you’re told to back down then accept this.
  4. Be calm and professional. There is a possibility that we will hear something that upsets us or excites us, or incites an emotional reaction. This is OK, and natural, but don’t let this impact your professionalism. If you feel that the emotions are overwhelming then ask to be given an opportunity to calm down and get a breath of fresh air.
  5. Be yourself. Finally, your appraisal is about YOU. So be YOU. Share YOU with your appraiser. Personal Integrity is important to the long-term Performance Review process.

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