One of my colleagues told me that at the end of this month, she will have to meet with her supervisor to discuss last year’s performance and goals. She sounded like she was preparing for a root canal. The truth is, she has met many of the performance goals set out for her but she hasn’t done a great job of keeping track of all that she has accomplished so she’s a little insecure about having the conversation.
It doesn’t have to be so painful…
This is ultimately a conversation about feedback–receiving and giving it. There is a skill to delivering feedback and unfortunately many of us have not come across managers who actually know what they are doing. This causes frustration for you and them. Just because someone was a great scientist, doesn’t mean he/she will be great at managing a science laboratory with scientists, receptionists, security guards and custodians. Just because someone was the number one salesperson for 5 years in a row does not mean that he/she is skilled out enough to run a sales department that requires daily interactions with people who may or may not love sales the same way. Believe it or not, bad managers, supervisors, etc. know they are bad and in quiet moments…I believe they wish they were better. But they’re not! Many of us will have to “coach” our performance reviewer in order to create the positive work experience that we say we want.
In healthy work environments, the goal setting process happens all year long with the opportunity to check in, re-evaluate and collaborate. You actually have the chance to discuss successes and challenges in a way that ensures that you are on track for meeting your goals. This means that you have to bring your supervisors and colleagues in and learn to be transparent about your accomplishments. No matter what your industry, you must document and catalogue your successes and be prepared to identify your professional development needs so that you can do the job you were hired to do. It takes practice but this is one goal that you can accomplish.