There is a significant pandemonium with the year ending. Yes, it is that time of the year again. The appraisal season is here! As employees and managers sum up what has been achieved in the previous financial year, performance appraisals ensure that every employee contributes towards meeting the company’s goals.
Over a period of time, we have gauged that t is the days before the appraisals that can cause you to feel anxious and stressed as you wait to know what your review holds. You might find it difficult to concentrate on work, worry about making mistakes, be fearful about your manager or colleagues noticing your anxiety. It’s only natural to be apprehensive and experience such stress. What is important is to understand how to deal with it.
Knowing what you are in for will eliminate considerable anxiety
Take regular breaks from work. Learn to say no and politely decline any work that you know is beyond your bandwidth. You should also keep in mind to maintain a work-life balance. Avoid taking work home and set aside time to spend with your friends and family. This will take your mind off work and is a great stress buster.
Work will be more manageable when you know what to expect. This will help you prepare for the meeting and self-evaluate. Be open when it comes to asking questions like, “Is there anything I need to bring with me?” or “Do I need to be prepared with something?” to your boss.
Constructive criticism will help you understand your own work, where you stand and what you need to do to reach the next level. By thinking of your review as a chance to grow and get better, you will have a more positive outlook towards it.
Your appraisal meet is not a time to argue or raise objections
As important as eliminating stress before the appraisal meeting, it is also imperative to stay cool and composed while it is going on. Take a deep breath and avoid any nervous habit (foot tapping, playing with your hair, etc.). And although it may sound cliched, the truth is –
To ensure the success of your performance appraisal, actively prepare for it. Do not merely act as the recipient of feedback from your manager. When you prepare for the meeting, it will ensure that your manager has a clearer picture of your career goals and performance.
The first step towards this can be gathering foundational information like notes from your previous appraisal. Use these to jot down your achievements, strengths, areas of development, etc. and proactively draft possible goals that you can discuss with your manager based on your job description, skills and experiences. You can further look at opportunities that may help you expand your responsibilities, duties and knowledge.
Create your own space
Effective communication is vital for a successful performance review meeting. When you leave the meeting room, you need to have all the information you need to start the new financial year with. Ask questions if you require any clarification about anything.
It is not possible for your manager to know the ups and downs of your work life. So, feel at liberty to speak up if he/she talks about an incidence that does not paint you in a good light. But this also means you should not respond by making excuses or avoiding ownership of your actions.
One of the best way to de-stress is by pursuing a hobby you enjoy. Join a Zumba workshop or yoga classes to keep your mind relaxed. The best way to unplug from the busy 9 to 6 schedule is by giving yourself time and investing energy in a positive experience. Writing a letter helps understand the importance of being patient which is a pre-requisite during appraisals.
When appraisals do not meet your expectations
It may be possible to be caught off guard by a review that consists of criticism that you didn’t expect. It takes specific communication skills to react to such criticism constructively.
If you receive a disappointing review and read it for the first time at your appraisal meeting, it is only natural to feel disappointed. You can start by highlighting the fact that you are willing to work together and find solutions with your manager. But if you feel tears rising or anger seeping in, the better thing to do is ask if the meeting can be rescheduled and let your emotions settle. This will reflect professionalism and give you time to plan your response.
When you meet your manager later, listen carefully to the explanation about all the points in your review. Ask for clarification wherever required. It is also a good idea to take notes. You can also consider sending a follow-up email to get a better idea of what was discussed and what you need to work on.
Adopt the right attitude and successfully establish a healthy working rapport with your manager. Demonstrating willingness to cooperate and walking the extra mile will help ease the anxiety of your performance review.
Performance review meetings may not be your favorite time of the year however it is imperative to make the most of them. All the stress and anxiety that appraisals cause, need to be dealt with in a proper manner. Learn to work with the right attitude; this will help you turn performance reviews into a gratifying experience.
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