We all want to do better. Better at work, better in life, better at everything. But how do we achieve this and do we really know what better is?

Performance at work has always been a hot topic. At worst, performance (or the lack of it) can put a company under, at best it can make it positively flourish.

It's the reason we have performance reviews, targets and KPIs – so that our boss and the management of the company can tell how we, and they, are doing by performance results.

But performance isn’t just about facts, figures and targets. It’s not just about meeting expectations to a satisfactory level within the work place.

In terms of ourselves, performance, and our understanding of it, is the key to personal and professional development and the business success.

Or to use a driving analogy: if you can't see where you are on the map, how can you work out your route, or know when you have arrived.

So it's down to you to manage your own performance at work if you want to get the results and recognition you want and get to where you really want to be.

** North, South, East or West?
Back to our map analogy. Do you know where you are in terms of performance at work?

Have you looked at your performance, analysed your strengths and weaknesses and more importantly accepted them?

Have you ever conducted your own performance review? If not, then you need to, now.
Choose a time-frame – say the last year. Brainstorm a list of your achievements (don’t be shy), your failures (do be honest!), your challenges and issues, obstacles you feel you overcame, situations you think may have got the better of you and anything else you think may affect or contribute to your performance at work. These can include factors outside of work as well.

Group the different elements together and you will have a good idea of where you are on the map performance-wise. Then you need to decide what you need to change so you can improve your performance.

** Analysis and Investment
Change is usually a good thing, but invariably very hard to do, especially when it needs to be self-motivated.

However, now you have reviewed your current position, you will have a very good indication of where you may be falling short, not only in terms of your mindset around your job and your company, but also in terms of where you may need additional learning and development to do your job better and improve your position.

Having a good awareness of the skills/abilities you lack to improve your performance and further your career is the starting point to doing something about that.

This is when communication with your superior is key. You will need to make an investment in yourself and ideally the source of the investment will come from your company. You just need to convince them why it will be commercially profitable for them to do so. Performance reviews are the perfect time to do this.

It's this simple:

1. Arrange a meeting with your supervisor to discuss your self-review and use it to point out your strengths but also the areas where you feel you are lacking. (Ask for their feedback on this.)
2. Highlight the type of training or investment you have identified you need to undertake, to improve upon those areas. (Do they agree with you?)
3. Discuss how afterwards, you would be more effective and productive in areas, and how this would impact on your contribution to the company as whole. (What's their opinion?)

Well it’s not really that simple but you have to be the “driver” in this situation, your boss won’t just stop and hand it to you.

** So. Get your Performance Sat-Nav in Gear
If you want to get better at what you do, if you want to succeed and if you want to further your career then you need to take control.

These days, the burden of self-improvement is squarely on the shoulders of employees not the managers. The thinking being that if you want to “get ahead” then you need to do something about it. And the more pro-active you are the more favourably it will be looked upon.

That means you need to know where you are headed and how you are going to get there.

Based on your own performance review and your assessment of the investment you need to improve your skill and performance levels, you need to create a road-map of actions that will help you make it happen.

Again take the time-frame of a year (or three if that’s more reasonable) and decide where you want to be at the end of that time. Then work backwards as to what you need to do to achieve that goal.

Could it be finding and paying for your own training if it is a crucial area that just can’t wait? Is it a daily strategy or ethos that will lift your performance levels and your mindset? Perhaps you need to change the way you do or approach certain tasks or projects?

Whatever it is, it’s up to you to decide. And at the crux of all of this is honesty.

You need to be truly honest with yourself about what you need to improve upon, so that you can actually make those improvements happen.

If you can’t then you will be looking at a map with no roads and you’ll be going nowhere.

So ask yourself this question: What have you done to improve your skills, abilities, and your performance in the last six months?

Author's Bio: 

Eugene Whelan is a qualified business and life coach and is the owner of One To Ten Coaching.

He has over 25 years experience at senior management level in the manufacturing and distribution industries.

Eugene has worked in various senior roles including, sales, manufacturing and commercial.

During this time he has gained an invaluable insight into the day-to-day pressures that go with such leadership roles and the expectations to be met.

Eugene is a direct and enlightened business consultant, able to see the practical side of people and situations as well as the more intangible qualities and potential of both.