Its that time of the year again. When bosses noticing your work becomes all important. When staying back at work and sending out ‘Reply to All’ mails at 11:59 p.m. become the fad. Its that time when ‘ personal ratings ‘ (not the stock you picked) suddenly become more important than remembering to have your stress pills or your own personal credit score. Yup! We are talking about your annual ‘oh so important’ appraisals! Considering you work or should we say live in a company that follows an April to March reporting, the last two months are your worst ever. Simply because now is the time to showcase what you have been up to for the last 10 months and how your work matters. Have you been a good team player ? Did you achieve your ‘i-m-possible’ targets ? And If you work in payroll, well there is loads to do. Appraisals, ratings, increment letters, announcements and then a quick dash to check attrition scores from last year!
While last week, we ran a contest on our Facebook page titled ‘ The things you hear around appraisals and what they really mean ‘. While most of the answers had us in splits, reading some of the entries also got us thinking on how can one effectively prepare and manage your appraisal and feedback.
We thought of 4 things to keep in mind. Here they are:
- Prepare: Nothing beats this formula! Since most companies have appraisal cycles more than once a year i.e. a quarterly or mid-term rating, it would be prudent to keep a folder in outlook titled ‘ Jobs done ‘. Each time to send out a crucial email, mark your self in ‘bcc’ and ensure you copy/transfer the mail to the folder. This way, when the time comes, all you have to do is look at this one place instead of ravaging through all your emails and that you know can take days. This one also comes super handy if you have a change in command (middle of the year) and you need to showcase what you have done to your new boss.
- ‘Areas Of Improvement’:Yes ! There will be feedback. And sometimes it can run into pages. The first thing to keep in mind is be aware of your body language during your appraisal meeting. Be assertive rather than defensive of what you have achieved and show that you are listening. Everyone has areas one needs to improve (even your boss) Remember that constructive feedback is like a gift and not a tsunami about to rock your world. Yes is not always easy to listen (especially if you think your boss needs some improvement too) but keep your cool. Don’t let the points you want to share with your boss cloud your listening abilities.
- Listen and Observe :Remember that sometimes, your appraisal has got nothing to do with your performance over the last year. Assess the situation. Your boss may be a new entrant who could still learning the ‘way things work around here’. Or maybe, its about showing authority. She/he (your boss) might want your attention cause you’ve ignored the hints that were being dropped. Also keep in mind that a low score does not mean you are headed for disaster but it would be prudent to look for signs for e.g. If your boss try to tell you, ‘ You are a real star and we depend on you to make this team work ‘ and then you get slammed with a truckload of criticism and new responsibilities.
- Say no to emotions and assumptions : We all have pre-conceived notions. Especially when it comes to our boss. Who he/she favors. How he/she thinks and is more likely to react. So on and so forth… It is important that you keep these assumptions outside the door along with your ego and emotions when you get into that appraisal meeting. Simply because then you are not coming from a position of being open to criticism but rather approaching this like World War II and are more likely to say or do something that might make the meeting extremely un-productive and rather meaningless.
Do remember that Bosses will be bosses and yes there will be agendas. What matters is how you manage things by keeping your cool.
Psst. This post also featured on the SHRM India Blog. Happy Reading 🙂