It’s something we hope we’ll never have to face in our careers, but more often than not we all at some point find ourselves receiving a Performance Review we’d rather not have on our record. I personally work for one of the largest software development companies in the world and the review system is part of my life whether I like it or not. This year I have found myself in the bottom bucket for our own review system. Though my “work” is fine my overall leadership and trajectory is taking a beating.
It would’ve been easy to try and bail out to another team and honestly it wasn’t for lack of trying to leave that I probably helped land myself in this quandary. But, instead of becoming a victim and saying “woe is me” I decided to do the following things that, no matter what my next review score, have changed my outlook on the whole process.
1. Don’t be a victim. The first thing I did with my manager is figure out “why” she saw me in the lower bracket of my peers and understood her expectations going forward. I created commitments for the next year with her input to make sure that I was on track to better meet her expectations.
2. Create an action plan. The new and improved commitments were a start and then getting peer and other management feedback allowed me to focus on improving my overall perception within my team and my organization.
3. Think outside of the box. If there was any “extra credit” I could do on the team, processes I could improve, money to be saved I made sure my name was visible to the organization and worked hard to earn the perception of a leader. Finding ways to improve daily processes is huge and sharing best practices and efficiencies shows leadership and improves your trajectory.
I wish I could say that digging out of a bad review is an easy task. It’s definitely making me work harder than I ever have before but I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to manage through a sticky situation and figure out where I should be in the overall scheme of things so that I can continue to move up in the company and be a true contributor.