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Five Awesome Annual Review Tips

Five Awesome Annual Review Tips

Being employed full-time means we’re subject to our performance at work being reviewed. This is commonly done on an annual basis–each year, we are given some kind of performance review to see how we’re doing from our employer’s perspective. Let’s have a look at some tips on how you can make your annual review go well.

Keep Track Of Achievements Throughout The Year

One of the main discussion points of your annual review will be what you have achieved over the last twelve months. This list should contain the good things you’ve done for the company.

However, a year in your job can be a long time. It can be hard to remember what you’ve done in the last year when you’re organizing your review. A great way to help remember is to keep notes on what you’ve done as you do them. Don’t wait until the end of the year to make this list.

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As you do good things at work, make a note of them. This can be a simple note, such as a project delivery, or a good idea that was picked up, or some important task you had to do. At the end of the year, you can look at this list, and it will jog your memory as to what your actual achievements were.

Just make sure you keep it in a place you’ll remember!

Mention How You Made Or Saved Money

Companies are very focused on two things: making money through what they do, and saving money while doing it. If you can link your achievements to either of these items, it can be a big help.

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Making money for the company could be part of your job. If you have sales targets or similar measures, you can mention these if you’ve met or exceeded them. If you did some work that involved bringing more business to the company, such as finding a new client or a new project, mention this in your review.

Alternatively, if you’ve saved your company money, you should mention this. Improving processes, finding better ways to do things, or negotiating new prices for services are all examples of things you may have done to reduce expenses for a company. If anything you’ve done has saved money for the company, mention it as well.

Talk About Your Focus On Development And Goals

Employers expect that their employees improve their skills and get better at their jobs. They often provide training and other initiatives to help this. A good thing to mention on your annual review is how you’ve achieved any goals that were set, either by yourself or by your manager. These could be performance goals or any other targets that have been set.

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Related to this, development of staff is also an area they are likely concerned with. If you’ve done anything to improve your skills, such as training or certifications, write this down. Even if the company has paid for it, the fact you have completed it shows you’re focused on these goals and improving yourself.

Set Goals For The Next Period

For you to be able to meet the goals in your previous year, you need to set them. Set some goals for yourself for the upcoming twelve months, and make them known to your employer. Some goals you could set can involve:

  • Training and development goals. List any training you’d like to do, or any certifications you wish to complete.
  • Projects and timelines. Completing projects by certain dates is an important but risky goal. It will need some assessment before the review, but mentioning the project work you’re doing and the dates you’d like to deliver it by can be a good goal.
  • Career and role development. This is more to do with your position and your career, but if you’ve set up a career plan, you should mention how you’re going to take the next step toward it. For example, if you’d like to be a team leader eventually, mention what steps you’re going to take to get that kind of position.

Include Areas to Improve

Nobody is perfect at their job. Some people are very good, yes, but there is still room for improvement in us all. A good way to help your annual review is to include some areas in which you can improve. They don’t need to be big areas, but including one or two areas can show your employer that you’re self-aware and looking to progress. They could be areas such as contributing to discussions in meetings, improving communication skills, or learning how to use a certain piece of software better.

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Annual reviews are an important part of our role. Making sure we do a good job of informing our manager about what we have done and what we have planned will ensure we get the most benefit from them.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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