Maybe your performance review wasn't as glowing as you were hoping it would be. Perhaps you're new to your role or you just inherited some responsibilities to which you're still getting acclimated. Maybe your division has gone through a re-org or there's been a leadership change in your unit. Perhaps you're feeling lethargic in your position, and you didn't realize your manager could sense that until you met.
There are many understandable reasons to experience a loss of focus or motivation at work. It bodes well for your workplace that there's a mechanism in place that gives you and your manager the chance to identify and discuss these.
Inviting your boss' expertise to help shape your plans and goals is a good move. Tammy Perkins, Chief People Officer with Fjuri Group recommends: "Getting the most out of feedback starts with an open mind. Be gracious. Don't let negativity rent space in your head or shatter your confidence. Take accountability and ownership for areas to improve then bounce back from the feedback and learn from it. Know when to move on and learn from the situation without blame."
While it can feel uncomfortable to have your manager point out areas where you can grow, it also shows you how to be more successful in your role. So make that your aim with a 2018 post-review hustle plan:
Having a less-than stellar review indicates that what you've been doing hasn't been having the impact that you've been hoping it would. Perkins, explains: "[A] performance review is ultimately a reflection of how you're perceived. So, it's not just about what you've accomplished in the past year, but also how your impact is perceived by the broader team, leadership, and organization."
Your review is important, and how you respond to feedback about your performance also matters. If your manager points out avenues for improvement, jump on that advice. Being a savvy pro is not about having all the answers; knowing how to work on a team and growing in your position are both core components that you now get the chance to demonstrate. Perkins explains: "Feedback can make a huge difference in your career if you embrace it and put in the effort to challenge yourself to improve."
Goal setting is a powerful feature of most performance reviews. Perkins notes, "Being successful in any performance review starts with setting goals with your manager and clearly communicating around your progress toward those goals throughout the year, while also showing a willingness to stretch further."
Outline your plan for how you'll achieve the objectives you and your manager identify. Then ensure that those goals guide the objectives, agendas and to-do lists that you develop over the course of the year. This way, your manager knows that you heard his or her message and its dictating your efforts for the year ahead.
Stellar employees, those who earn glowing reviews, tend to be the ones who do more than their jobs. Perkins explains: "High performers strive to reach higher goals and are passionate about learning. They inspire and empower others around them. They demonstrate the ability to deal with difficult, stressful or ambiguous situations, overcome obstacles or resolve conflict."
If you want to distinguish yourself as a high performer, keep pushing yourself to advance and grow as a professional.
Maybe that means taking classes, joining a professional society, submitting an article to a professional publication or presenting at a conference. Get involved with a publication or an organization that generates thought leadership and scholarship for your industry. The extra effort will undoubtedly be noted by leadership, but more importantly, it will give you the chance to delve into the subject matter and participate on a deeper level. You may realize that you were made to be in fundraising, human resources, chemical engineering.
You may also discover that this field simply doesn't suit you. And maybe that's the reason for your lackluster review. That's okay. It's not uncommon to discover that you're misaligned. Once you've targeted why you may not be getting glowing reviews, you can fix that. You may discover that the fix means pursuing something different. It's better to know that than to labor away in an ill-fitting role.
Having a mentor can be a huge help. If you're feeling a little lost or a bit underwhelmed in your current role or industry, and you're eager to enact a hustle plan, a mentor can help you to learn more about the industry and about your job.
Request your manager's feedback as you implement your plan to ensure that your efforts are keeping pace with his or her expectations.
Perkins explains: "Ask for feedback on what you can do to more effectively be successful. Don't wait for the performance review process."
Happy hustling — you've got this!
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