In my experience most people dread appraisals at work. While we constantly feel judged anyway, we don’t like the prospect of being told to our faces. I get that there is a natural power imbalance in those appraisals, because the employer has most of the leverage and if you disagree with their assessment you probably feel there is little you can do about it.
Having said that, I do believe there is another way to look at it. When I was working as a manager, I’d tell my team to view the appraisal as an opportunity. An opportunity to highlight your achievements and to discuss further development. As well as to receive feedback and acknowledge room for improvement. While you usually have an appraisal once a year, it’s something I recommend you prepare for throughout the year. It’s much easier to make a note of things you did well when they happen, than looking back and remembering them all at the end of the year.
And that’s what I actually want to talk about today: the year is coming to an end and you might want to do a bit of a self-appraisal of not just your job but your life. Here are a few ideas on how to go about it:
1) Celebrating achievements
Just as for a job, I recommend that you make a note of your achievements day to day. Whether in the form of a gratitude journal or a diary or maybe a memory jar: take time throughout the year to acknowledge what you did well – small and big. Oftentimes, we overlook or take for granted what happens. Or we put it down to luck and fail to see our contribution. Commit to making this a regular activity!
2) Planning for more success
What do you want more of? How can you build on your success? How can you maybe apply your demonstrated skills and strengths in another area? I was reading about strengths in the workplace the other day and how we/the management system is often geared towards eradicating weaknesses, as opposed to building on strengths. At the same time, research has shown that we can achieve much more by focusing on our strengths than our weaknesses. Shift your focus on all that you can do instead of zooming in on your perceived flaws and see what changes.
3) Owning up
I’m a huge advocate of a positive mindset and focusing on your strengths. But I also believe in being honest with yourself and that self-awareness is a critical success factor (for whatever you define as success for yourself). So, let’s not gloss over the things that could have gone better but use them as life lessons. What would have helped us in those situations to achieve a better outcome? We’ll otherwise keep making the same mistakes. In some cases it might help us identify areas we want to improve and other times, we might decide it isn’t for us and focus our efforts in other areas instead.
4) Planning ahead
Part of every appraisal is making plans for the future. Where are you heading? Where do you want to be in another year’s time? And how will you get there? And most importantly: WHY? What is your motivation behind it all? What will be different once you achieved your goals? What is the first (baby) step you can take towards that goal? How will you know you’ve achieved it?
All of these steps are of course things you do continuously over the year. I mean, who wouldn’t want to celebrate all your year round, right?! If you would like to share your 2019 achievements, I'd love to hear from you. Comment below or drop me an email!
And as this is my last blog post for the year: I hope you are having a wonderful time, maybe relaxing and recharging over Christmas and starting into the New Year with renewed energy! Wishing you all the best and see you in 2020!