The Dreaded Performance Review and How to Prepare for It

By: Patty Prosser

I know it’s Performance Review time, and for many, this time of year creates feelings of dread for even the most accomplished performer. But should it?

As you prepare, I’m sure you are thinking things like- Have I done enough? Have I made enough of an impact? Were my accomplishments as good as/better that other top performers?

Where you are responsible for seeking regular feedback about your performance from your boss throughout the year, that doesn’t mean you’ve gotten it!  You might have had a conversation like this –

YOU: “Can you give me some feedback on what more I can be doing to make a bigger impact in my role?”

YOUR BOSS: “You are doing all the right things. Keep up the good work!” But, how do you know that what he/she’s really thinking? Does he/she really believe or even KNOW what you and your team might be doing to impact the organization in a positive way?

I frequently have this conversation with my clients, not just when they are preparing for their Performance Reviews, but throughout the year, to make certain they are their own best advocate! We can’t leave something as important as this to chance!!Here’s are some of the tips I regularly share:

First, regularly meet with your boss to discuss where you are with your goals and expectations.
Determine what goals still need to be met, discuss progress you ae making, express any help you need, and what might need to be “tweaked” going forward.

Next, regularly keep track of and measure the results you are achieving.
It’s not your boss’s job to know what you and your team is doing all the time.  Believe it or not, they have other priorities! Make sure you are regularly tracking your accomplishments (both big and small) and measuring the quantitative impact of your results.

Track how you are continually earning and upgrading your skills. 
You want to continue to demonstrate that you’re always preparing for increased responsibility or a new role!

Be a resource to your boss.
Know what your boss is working on and offer help where appropriate.

Raise your visibility with other leaders in the organization.
You never know what the “next” opportunity will come from.  Make certain you are using your voice by speaking up in meetings and sharing your perspective. By being visible to other leaders and showing an interest in other areas of the business, where possible, you may find additional ways to make a contribution.

Demonstrate a willingness to collaborate with colleagues.
If you have the bandwidth, offer to help others with projects that can help reach year-end goals.

Take back your ideas!
This may be a rather radical idea, but I’m sure you’ve had it to you. Someone liked an idea you had so well, that they presented as their own? The next time this happens, try giving evidence that this was your idea originally by showing additional data or more detail that supports your idea.

With many companies still bracing for a recession and considering what talent to keep, it’s more important than ever to help your boss understand the value you are adding and validate that you are a strong contributor.

For more information on this and other leadership issues, visit The Center for Leadership Excellence website at or contact Patty Prosser, Coaching Practice leader at or at 317-727-6464.

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