Preparing for Your Next Performance Review

When it comes to performance reviews, employees often spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about how to ask for more money or get that promotion. In so doing, they miss an opportunity to think more deeply about what they really want from their career, how to leverage their strengths, and how to include their boss in the conversation. In a recent webinar hosted by the MBA Career Services for Working Professionals Alliance, we heard from leadership development coach Valia Glytsis on ways to approach your next review:

Before the review:

  1. Think about what you really want beforehand. What is this promotion going to get you and what is the end goal? Sure, it may be more money, but what does having more money or a promotion really get you? Is it peace of mind, acknowledgement, recognition? Think carefully and go through the steps of what you really are looking for in your career, not just in this moment in time. If you are already satisfied with your progress in the organization, think about what area you may want to develop. 
  2. Lead with your strengths. Do you have the opportunity to do something that uses your strengths every day? If one of your strengths is being great at client engagement, how could you be even better at it so that you become the department super-star? It is important to think about improving areas of weakness also, but spend just enough time on your weaknesses to get you to a level of competence. By getting your weaknesses to competency, and reorienting your energy towards your strengths, you will more quickly shorten the gap between good and great, and that's what makes you stand out.

During the review:

  1. Leverage a growth mindset. Think about what you've learned from failure, what you want to develop expertise in, and how you want to get there. Be coachable and consider exploring opportunities to grow.
  2. Take the approach of consultative listening. Ask effective and future-oriented questions such as, "I know my strengths are ABC, how can I integrate these strengths at the next board meeting?" Invite your reviewer to be a thought-partner with you when determining your goals for the future. Be calm, curious and try not to be too self-oriented or judgmental.
  3. Sharpen your message. Start with WHY rather than how and what. You know what you do in your role, and how you do it on a daily basis, but being able to communicate why you do it has significant impact. As Simon Sinek explains, people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. (See his TED Talk "How Great Leaders Inspire Action" here:

After the review:

  1. Keep your momentum. Create checkpoints with your manager so you can track progress. For example, if you've thought of three things you want to create in the next 6 months, propose those items to your boss and create checkpoints by saying, "In the next 6 months I want to be creating A, B and C," and settle on dates to review them.