Avoid Surprises: Five Tips for Taking the Lead in Successful Performance Reviews


Q.  I’ve been in my job for almost a year and am due for a performance review with my boss.  My co-workers warn me that they got mad after theirs, so I shouldn’t expect it to be a good or helpful experience.  Our boss seems reasonable, so I want to try to make this a good session for both of us.  Any recommendations on how to make that possible?

A.   You’re wise to think about your review in advance.  Too many employees enter performance review sessions with no preparation, so they’re surprised by the feedback.  You should spend a couple of hours thinking about your performance.  Jot down accomplishments and ask your mentor(s) for their impressions of your performance. 

Five tips from ehow.com provide a framework for employees preparing for their reviews:   

  1. Understand Your Past
  2. Be Proactive
  3. Be Prepared for Constructive Criticism
  4. Consider Your Review a Strategy Session
  5. Use Your Review as a Prime Communication Opportunity

Unfortunately, far too many managers do a lousy job of performing performance reviews.  A recent Wall Street Journal article confirms that most managers hate conducting performance reviews–even though constructive feedback is critical for employees. 

Employees who take a proactive role in helping their bosses get through the annual performance review ritual will feel better about the end result. 

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