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What to tell your boss at your next appraisal

Two professional colleagues looking at computerLove them or hate them, when it comes to yearly appraisals, it pays to be prepared. Go in armed with evidence of your success (sales figures, reports, client feedback) and decide what you want to achieve from the meeting before you sit down with your boss.

Not sure where to start? Here are five things to tell your manager at your next performance review…

1. How you will get it right next time

You obviously want to say how you’ve made a positive impact this year – creating new reports, generating a sale, keeping a difficult customer happy – but don’t be tempted to brush any failings under the carpet.

‘If you have failed to meet any targets, then you need constructive suggestions on how this might be rectified next year,’ says Corinne Mills, Managing Director of Personal Career Management and author of Career Coach.

‘This might include setting more realistic targets, getting more support, changing work duties, etc. It’s important to think about these things before you go into the room, so you aren’t caught out on the hop and can leave the meeting on a positive note.’

2. What your career objectives are

An appraisal is your opportunity to focus on your career objectives as a whole. Think about long-term goals as well as short-term ones that will help improve the job.

‘Discussing where you want to go in the company is a whole lot easier if you intend to stay in the coming year,’ says David Shindler, performance coach and author of Learning To Leap.

‘If that’s the case, be open and honest about your ambitions within the company. Tell your boss how he or she can help. Ask where you can get further information or advice. If you are unhappy (and your boss isn’t part of the problem), tell them why. Seek short-term solutions to keep you going or to improve your CV. Be specific and objective.’

3. How you can improve things and keep learning

Your manager may not be aware of everyday problems that are affecting the team. Now is a good opportunity to share your thoughts on how to make things better.

‘Share ideas you have for how you might improve your performance or that of the team, for example changing work schedules, improving communication between other departments or enhancing workflow processes,’ suggests Corinne.

‘Managers aren’t always aware of some of the difficulties and this is your opportunity to raise this in a helpful way. Now is also the time to request that training course you’d like or arrange some work shadowing or mentoring, for example.’

4. How well your boss is performing

Annual appraisals are not popular because they are often tied to pay, the performance management system is perceived to be bureaucratic or unfair and managers struggle with holding difficult conversations about performance, says David.

‘You might be lucky enough to be in a culture where your performance is discussed regularly by a skilful manager. Either way, ensure the conversation is two-way.

‘The focus is on you in appraisals, yet your manager plays a fundamental role in enabling you to be at your best and doing your job well. Tell them how well they’re doing at managing you. Give credit where it is due and how you would like things to be different if necessary.

‘This is also an opportunity to help your boss. Suggest a task, project or role you could reach up to take the burden off your manager. Ideally, it’s one that is stretching and gives you experience in an area that helps your career. The bonus comes from building a better relationship with your boss who will see you in an even more positive light.’

5. Your current situation

You wouldn’t be human if your personal life didn’t affect your performance at work at some point. If your boss isn’t aware of any changes in your situation, now is a good opportunity to let them know.

Some people believe work and home should be kept separate. For me, there is only life and it includes work and play (sometimes in the same space),’ says David.

‘Bring your whole person into the room if your life outside work is affecting your performance at work. Tell your boss if you want to change your working patterns or need to adjust objectives in light of your circumstances. If they don’t know, they can’t help.’


Book links

Learning to Leap: A guide to being more employable by David Shindler: http://amzn.to/136jYOn

Career Coach: Your personal workbook for a better career by Corinne Mills: http://amzn.to/1liXxgz

Image: © pablocalvog – Fotolia.com

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