Are you doing well at work? I certainly hope so. You may have gotten a great compliment from your boss recently about your work. That’s one way of knowing you’re doing well. What if you haven’t? How do you know you’re doing well? If you wait for your annual review, it’s too late to do anything to change the perception that things are not going well. Here’s what you can do instead.
Keep track. Who knows your work better than you do? No one. Even if you have a great boss, it’s unlikely that your boss knows all the good work you do. That’s why it’s up to you to keep track of your work.
When I worked for two major oil companies, each year I always kept a file marked Review. I advise my clients to do the same now. Here’s how I used it. When I completed a project on time and under budget, I made a note about the project and summarized my contribution. My sales numbers were more easily tracked and noticed by management, but the tasks that went into achieving my goals were less obvious.
Keep track of the results of your work during the year. Train yourself that every time you hear a compliment to make note of it and put it in your file. Even better, why not ask the person who notices your work to email you their comment and then put it in your Review file? It’s far more persuasive when someone else says the same things about your work than if you said them yourself.
One of my biggest surprises was when a customer wrote a glowing letter about my working on a project with him. He sent it to my boss. I didn’t even know that he wrote until my review when my boss showed the letter to me. It was just one of the reasons I got a great review that year. But, too many customers today don’t have the time to write unless you specifically ask them to write when they say nice things about your work.
Write your own review. Here’s how you become really effective. I also tell my clients to write their own reviews. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? It really is a great strategy. You know your work better than anyone. Most companies have forms that management uses to complete annual reviews. If you ask a manager how they enjoy working on reviews, they’ll say it’s not their favorite task. Why? It’s too hard to remember all that you do.
What if you took the form, organized your Review folder and completed the form for your manager? Do you think you would have a happier manager? Do you think you would have a better review? I do. I’ve done it and it works. Even you won’t remember the things you did at the beginning of the year unless you had a file folder of the reminders.
Know how to take compliments. There’s another way to do better this year. I want you to promise me that this year you will take compliments graciously. This means you won’t say, “It was nothing.” You won’t say, “No problem” either.