We all need performance feedback to guide our career development and ensure faster promotions. Whether you look forward to performance reviews and performance appraisals or dread the idea, they are inevitable for almost everyone. That’s why in 2012 I want you to be more proactive about taking the reins when it comes to performance evaluations.

Don’t wait for them to come to you with their own standardized checklist. Figure out what your real strength is. Then go to your boss way ahead of time and ask for specific feedback regarding that contribution. By doing so you highlight your unique value, and you also make sure that it gets noticed – even if the organization is distracted by looking at other kinds of standard attributes or results. Remember that what you measure during a performance review depends on what you examine. So focus their analysis on your strengths now so that they start tracking your success early.

Needless to say, you aren’t the only one being watched, so there may also be internal conflicts related to this kind of appraisal. If you shine brighter or score higher than your direct superior, for instance, that could potentially feel like a threat to your boss. You don’t want to be in that situation, especially if your boss is tabulating the results of your own appraisal. So be proactive. Sit down and clarify your shared goals in a collaborative way. Set up an informal performance contract between yourself and your boss, with concrete metrics and verifiable benchmarks that benefit both of you as well as your organization.

The optimum way to ask for feedback is once a month, so that each quarter – and certainly by the time your official evaluation comes around – you’ll have accumulated a visible record of goal achievement, skill development, and verifiable contributions. Instead of wondering what the performance review holds for you, you’ll already know – because you took charge of the process months before your colleagues and competitors for prized promotions even thought about their own performance reviews.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS is an internationally distinguished executive coach, corporate consultant, professional speaker, and the founding CEO of her own company, Illustra Consulting. A career acceleration and leadership presence expert, Hathorn created the innovative Predictable Promotion System, a 10-step proprietary process she uses to coach managers aspiring to be directors, directors seeking vice presidential promotions, and VP’s eager to ascend to the C-suite. Hathorn served as a senior level executive for a Fortune 100 company for 25 years, and she has more than 30 years of experience mentoring high potentials for rapid career advancement and extraordinary success.
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