Self appraisal allows you to remind yourself and your boss of your accomplishments, put your successes and missteps into context, and articulate goals for the future. But doing it well can be tricky. How many people are truly objective about their own performance? And how can you find the right balance between self-promotion and self-criticism? Here are some tips:
Know How You Will Use It Will the self-appraisal play a key role in your review, or is it just an HR-mandated formality? Will your superior use it to make decisions about your promotion and bonus? Will it be shared with anyone else? The answers to these questions will inform what and how you write. Some lazy bosses cut and paste self-evaluations into official performance reviews. If that sounds like your boss, write your own appraisal in a way that makes it easy for him to do this.
Emphasize Your Accomplishments Don’t be arrogant, but don’t downplay your successes either. If you’ve had a great performance, you should write explicitly about your accomplishments. Be clear about your contributions.
Acknowledge Mistakes – Carefully Be careful when mentioning mistakes. Don’t give your superior the noose with which to hang you. You should mention your shortcomings in passing – but be sure to put a good spin on them. Don’t talk of where you really fail, rather indicate areas you want to work on; what you’ve learned.
Keep the Focus on Yourself It can be tempting to criticize others, particularly if they are hindering your progress, but remember that this is about you, not them. If you have issues with a coworker, talk about it with the boss – but don’t put it in writing.
Ask for What You Need Smart employees use self-appraisal to lobby for development opportunities. Be specific. Explain the aspects of your job that most excite you and suggest ways you can become more involved in those things. But remember to ensure that your requests reflect what your business unit needs as well.
Source: Harvard Business Review, November 2015.
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