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How to Sail through Your Tough Performance Review

How to Sail through Your Tough Performance Review

Jodi Glickman Brown | Great On the Job

While the merits and validity of a year-end review are often the subject of great debate, the fact that many firms use them as a tool for compensation and promotion is not.

Your managers will spend much time (hopefully) preparing to deliver your review in a thoughtful and constructive manner.  You should spend as much time, if not more, preparing yourself to receive the feedback in a thoughtful and constructive way too—to impress your manager, address negative issues head-on, and set a positive tone for the year ahead.

2009 has been a tough year for many of us. Most people I know have been hanging on for dear life at their jobs, versus swinging for the fences. It is rare, these days, to hear, “I knocked it out of the park.”

For those who are more apprehensive than usual regarding the fateful meeting with the boss, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. More importantly, know that there are three things you can and should do to prepare yourself, whether or not you expect the conversation to be difficult.

The goal of the performance review, from your perspective (not just your manager’s), should be to:

1. Highlight what you’ve done well
2. Acknowledge areas of weakness
3. Demonstrate what you’re doing now to make things better next year

1. Highlight what you’ve done well
Before your performance review, you owe it to yourself to take stock of your accomplishments and be ready to toot your own horn. No one else is going to do it for you. This may be your only chance to let senior management know about 2009 “wins,” big or small.  Failing to go into that meeting prepared to dazzle your manager with what you’re most proud of is nothing short of professional negligence. Too many people walk out of a performance review caught off-guard and realize after the fact that they’ve just spent thirty minutes talking about what went wrong without ever mentioning their important clients, biggest deals or contributions to the firm.

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