8 Things to Tell Your Boss at Your Next Appraisal

31 Dec 2018 Posted in ⟨For Learners⟩

Have a performance appraisal coming up and want to stand out? Well, there’s one thing that you need to do: be prepared.

While most people view appraisals as a necessary part of keeping their job, high achievers view them as an opportunity for personal development and career progression. They know that a successful appraisal can help them move towards their career and life goals, so they invest time and energy into preparing for it.

Whether your next appraisal is coming up in the next 6 days or next 6 months, now is a better time than ever to start getting ready for it!

1. What you have contributed

Contrary to popular belief, Ramit Sethi, the founder of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, suggests that employees should start preparing for their appraisals six months in advance: months 3 to 6 for becoming a top performer, months 1 to 2 for developing their presentation, then weeks 1 to 2 for practice. To get started, identify what a successful appraisal looks like to you (e.g. a $X raise or a promotion), then work with your boss to set expectations of what you need to achieve before your appraisal. With these expectations agreed upon, figure out what you need to do to exceed them and collect quantitative evidence of how you achieved that along the way. Once you have collected your evidence, create a case for why you should be given whatever it is that you seek from your company (e.g. a raise or promotion).

2. What you will improve next time

Although everyone naturally wants to focus on the positives, the truth is that there will always be something that has gone wrong. Instead of brushing your shortcomings aside, be honest about them. Tell your boss why a target was not met, then outline how you plan to rectify it in future.

3. How your employer fits into your vision of the future

Visions aren’t only for those with visionary leadership styles. They can also be a tool to help you figure out how you fit into your current company and how they fit into your life. Is your present role bringing you closer to your vision or do things need to change? Although it may seem daunting to communicate your personal vision and goals with your boss, sharing it will bring up new opportunities and ensure that the both of you are on the same page.

4. How happy you are

The happier you are at work, the more engaged you will be with the work that you do. And the more engaged you are, the happier your company’s clients and customers will be. If you are unhappy at work, you need to share this with your boss so that you can work together to find a solution.

5. What you want to learn

An appraisal is the perfect time to tell your boss about the skills that you want to cultivate and topics that you want to learn more about. If they can see how it’d contribute to the company, then they may support you in your personal development pursuits. SkillsFuture courses, for example, are a great avenue for growth, especially seeing that all Singaporeans aged 25 and above receive $500 SkillsFuture Credit. From communications and relationship building to problem solving and decision making to developing personal effectiveness to leadership training, there is a course out there waiting for you!

6. What you really want to work on

We need to constantly ask ourselves, “Is what I am currently working on what I want to continue working on?” While the answer could be “yes” at one stage, it could easily change to a “no” as you develop in skills and experience. Do you want to work on something more creative? Do you want to work on something that will help you develop your leadership qualities? Although your boss will have an idea of where you fit into the company, only you will know where you are at in terms of personal development and the projects that you need to be working on to facilitate that.

7. New ideas that you have for your company

It’s easy for senior management teams to lose touch with what’s happening on the ground, therefore, it is very much up to those involved with daily operations to help keep the company ahead of its competition. If you have noticed things that your company could do better, avoid the tendency to just complain about it. Rather, be solution-oriented and come up with your own ideas of how to solve the problems or how a new opportunity could be capitalised. Rest assured that even if your ideas do not come to fruition, you will have shown initiative and interest in your company’s success.

8. What you want your boss to stop (or start) doing

Your performance is very much affected by how well you can work with your boss, so it is important that you bring up the things that they are doing (or not doing) that are limiting your potential. A simply way to approach this is to share two things that you appreciate your boss doing for every one thing that could be improved. Remember to be specific about your points and compassionate about what you bring up as the goal is to improve your working relationship, not to put them down. Again, this may seem daunting, however, having an open conversation will deepen the level of communication between you and your boss while helping them to develop their leadership skills!

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