It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We are all focused on our end-of-the-year review, tiny raise (if any), bonus (maybe) and the slight chance for a promotion. We also think a little about the holidays and spending time with family and friends.
As if you are not stressed enough over the holiday season, choosing the right presents for loved ones, prudently balancing work and social engagements and risking your life by precariously climbing a 20-foot ladder to decorate the outside of your home with lights, you also have to contend with a year-end review with your Grinch of a boss.
Before you are herded into the boss or human resource person’s office to discuss your performance, I have a smart suggestion for you. Here is a unique idea that is different than my usual insightful advice, including purchasing a brand new interview outfit during the holiday sales.
Are you up to trying something that could be a little unique and different? This action will definitely push you out of your comfort zone. Before you go into the end-of- the-year review or embark upon a job search, you can try this strategy.
We all view ourselves in a certain light. Sometimes we are considerably more critical of ourselves than necessary. Other times, we give ourselves far more credit than we deserve. Our own self perception may not be very accurate. We cannot trust ourselves to be clear thinking and unbiased when it comes to rating ourselves. To ensure a fair and honest appraisal of how you are viewed in the workplace, it makes sense to ask people that you work with how they perceive you.
Think of this as your own 360-degree job assessment made by your peers. First, pick about six people who you have a relationship with. Ask them to give you an honest evaluation of how they view your work. It would be helpful to choose people from different facets of your work life. For instance, you could select a peer, a senior-level person from a division that you interface with, a subordinate and a former colleague.
Once you have picked out your team of independent advisers, politely ask if they can spare 10-30 minutes to talk candidly. The conversation could be held in the office, at a Starbucks for coffee, sitting down for lunch or over a beer. Let them know that you will be having your year-end review and would appreciate some honest feedback on your work, so that you will be better prepared for this meeting. Let them know that you desire a second opinion on your work product; ask about how you interact with people and the manner in which you are viewed within the organization.
I recognize that this is not easy. Don’t be afraid of criticism. In fact, ask for tough answers, tell them not to pull any punches and invite brutally honest constructive criticism. You can start with a few questions.
“What do people in the office think of my performance?”
“How is my attitude and demeanor?”
“Am I viewed as being effective, efficient and professional?”
“Do I work well and play well with others?”
“Do I finish my projects in a timely manner?”
“Are there things that I could do differently to have a greater impact?”
“Would you recommend me for a promotion or hire me if you had the chance?”
“What would you rate me on a scale of 1-10?”
“How do I compare with my peers?”
“Do you believe that I have what it takes to move into upper management?”
“Is there anything I should know concerning what people say about me when I’m not around?”
These are just some sample questions to get started. Then, you could hold a more free-flowing, unstructured conversation.
With this knowledge, you will have a better understanding of how you are viewed in the office and could use this information in your meeting with your supervisor—or in a search for a new job.
You should be mentally prepared that the feedback may be disappointingly and surprisingly eye opening. You will need to work on improving yourself before expecting a good evaluation. Also, you could factor this information into your decision-making process before you start looking for a new job.
Hopefully, if the collective opinions of this group are overwhelmingly positive, it will give you the confidence to share all of the positive and wonderful things that people say and think about you and empower you to push hard for a raise, higher bonus or promotion.