So, it is that time again, the dreaded review of yourself. The new year has come and you are examining last year and how you will resolve to change or be better this year and your boss has told you that it is time for you to complete the first step in the annual review process, the self review. Better pour a big glass of wine and get writing.
Why is it so difficult for one to complete this process? I have even seen the best task masters drag their feet to complete a self review, is it really that hard to reflect on the past year and write or speak objectively about themselves. I am sure there are many articles and studies out there that have examined just this, maybe I will search them up for a follow-up to this post at a later date or you can comment a great one you may have found on this post. I would be most happy to read it and the feedback is appreciated.
In my experience, I have found that not everyone is objective and some are pretty extreme in their rankings. Guesstimate, certainly not scientific, I would say twenty-five percent score themselves very low and are super hard on themselves. You have about another thirty-five percent that are somewhere in the middle and just give themselves the mid ranking all the way down the page. We move on to another twenty percent or so that are very thoughtful about their ratings on all goals and competencies, they are relevant to the progress made, these are my favorite. Then, you have that last twenty percent that give themselves the highest rating possible, really? You achieved every goal and you have nothing to improve on? Come on.
This brings us to commentary- don’t write a book and don’t leave it blank! This is the part that requires you to actually think about what you accomplished last year and how you feel about it. Seeing as I have touched on tools and organization in my past posts, you won’t be surprised that I happen to use the journal feature in online review systems. This allows me to review what I did rather than wracking my brain to try to remember and only thinking back on the last quarter. Honestly, there is a lot going on do you remember exactly what you did last January? I don’t, do yourself a favor and use this option. I also like to ask others how they felt I did last year, there is always that one person that you value their opinion, ask. They may ask you for the same, and who knows you may help each other when it comes time to determine goals, yes that is coming later. Another tip is to put yourself in the shoes of your boss, I am sure you are aware of their communication style, play to that, what do you think they will write when they complete their part? This may also make the discussion easier.
The most important thing in a self review is to be reflective and realistic. This is not the time to rattle off all of the things that are bothering you nor is it the time to speak of others, unless your goals are team related. This is your time to say precisely what you have accomplished, toot your own horn, leave the emotion out of it (hardest part for someone like me). Your superior and those around you appreciate the honesty, don’t claim to have completed something that you didn’t, this will go a long way in relationships and trust. When you see this as a necessary step to your growth in your role and as a person, you embrace it and realize it does not have to be a painful process. Like most anything else you will get out of it what you put into it.
You may have even gotten through it with just one glass of wine or coffee (if you are in the office)!