It is not at all uncommon to get a racing heartbeat and sweaty palms at the thought of sitting down with your boss for a chat about your job performance. It is scary to feel as if your job security hangs in the balance of how a conversation pans out. But, in reality, a job performance review shouldn’t be something to fear. Not if you know what to expect and how to behave going into it. Truly, these reviews are largely for you. They let you know how you are doing in your position and how you can improve your work. Here are a few ways to handle this oftentimes stressful interaction.
If you are struggling in one area of your work, be honest about it — both with yourself and your boss. Admit that you need a bit of polishing up, and ask if there is a way to learn how to do better. Your boss will appreciate the honesty, and, if they are a good supervisor, will do all that they can to help you improve. On the other hand, if you’re good at something and have been performing well in a certain area, make sure that your boss knows all about it.
Expect constructive criticism
You are bound to get a few pointers on how to improve your work, no matter how well you have been doing in your position. Don’t take it as a personal attack. Remember, these reviews are meant to help both you and your boss improve. And, if what your boss is telling you strikes you as undeniably true and accurate, acknowledge it and ask for input on how you can improve.
But stand up for yourself if need be…
It is rare that a job performance review will simply consist of a litany of verbal attacks on you, as people that handle performance reviews in such a manner do not usually last very long in management positions. However, if this happens, and you definitely don’t deserve the diatribe that you are receiving, be prepared to politely stand up for yourself. Re-assert all that you have done for the company. Don’t let your boss get away with scathing and unfair criticism. But you can stand up for yourself, and all the while be respectful as well. Do not stoop to their level if they are being offensive and unprofessional.
Feedback should be welcome
And I am talking from your end. As in, there should be, provided your manager is a good manager, a point in the review session where you’re asked if you have any feedback to give on your position or even on your boss themselves. This is an opportunity to be honest, but again, to do so while remaining properly respectful and professional. Especially if your reviewer was kind to you while giving you their feedback on your job performance. Don’t leave anything out. But give suggestions for improvement, rather than simply griping.
Questions also should be welcome
Again, provided that your manager is good at what he or she does, they should be open to your questions. After all, you are meeting with your boss to make your performance better, and being engaged in the conversation is the best way to do that. Ask specific questions about your performance and about how you can improve upon your work.
There is no shame in asking your colleagues, friends that have been through it before, or, dare I say it, even your boss, about what to expect in the weeks leading up to your job performance review. It will show that you are invested in the process and care about how it goes.
All evaluations are scary, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily have to be unpleasant and painful. With a little bit of know-how, you can leave your job performance review utterly unscathed. And, more than that, you might even find that the job performance review was a pleasant occasion to learn a little bit more about what you do, and how you can improve. Heck, you might even become closer with your boss as a result of it.
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