Sunday, January 10, 2010

“Where’s the Gift?”

It’s January. Plus or minus a few weeks and many people will sit with their boss and have a performance review discussion. Hopefully this was preceded by many candid conversations and career exploratory talks. While we will all be focused on the numbers or ratings, I’d encourage you to look for the real gift in the discussion – those 1 or 2 things you can do differently or better to really excel your performance. Nigel J.A. Bristow (“Where's the Gift? How to achieve phenomenal success by discovering the gift in all feedback”) shares that we often are not looking for the gift, sometimes do not like the way it is wrapped or we find it hard to identify in the packaging.

The two worst types of feedback are “you’re doing great, keep doing what you’re doing” or “you need to step it up” but without anything specific to improve. We need to want candid feedback. If your boss does not automatically provide it, ask for your “gift”. Just as important and as uncomfortable as it may seem, we need to make sure we make bosses feel the feedback is desired and we are going to do something with it.

How do you make sure you get real performance feedback?


Anna Monaco said...

Reminds me of the following:
What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity?
Our attitude toward it.

Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.
– J. Sidlow Baxter, Australian author, theologian (1903-1999)

davidburkus said...

It's a shame. People hate these formal appraisals and if quality feedback were a regular part of their job, then they'd be totally unnecessary.

Unknown said...

I work for a large defense contractor that has a matrix organization. My project manager prepares a supplemental review, which is input to my functional manager, who prepares my annual performance review. I'm a senior systems engineer. I've learned to communicate frequently with my functional manager. I send some of the best technical documents that I've written during the year to my functional manager as evidence of my work. I am involved in activities, such as mentoring and training, above and beyond my tasks on the project. Generally, I have had "exceeds expectations" or "excellent" on my reviews over the past eight years and I received a promotion in 2008. Communication and active participation are the keys.

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