How to Navigate Your Pursuit of Some Great Reward

— January 12, 2018

It’s that time of the year when most of you may have or may be getting into a performance review interview. It can be a daunting exercise, however, if done right, it can actually be beneficial for both you and your manager. And while the arguments of the need and evolution of performance management stands, it’s still a process that most of you will go through. However, what’s different for all of us is what great reward we’re seeking to gain from the process.

This year, like many in the past, you’ll be talking about your past achievements, goals for the current year, your career aspirations and of course your development path. Again, it’s an opportunity for you to gain meaningful insight about your role and the company and for you to really shine for your manager. What you don’t want to do is ruin things.

How could you do that? Well if you were to make statements like these you’re headed for a rough ride. Here are a few things you could say to your manager that’ll quickly see your great reward turn sour.

I did everything you asked me to.

That statement is the biggest mistake you can make during a performance review interview. It highlights mediocrity, at best. If you want to be taken as a serious talent in the team you’ll avoid such statements and speak mainly about all the extraordinary contributions you’ve made to the team and company.

Well but you gave her/him a better rating, so why not me?

Never benchmark what you feel you deserve with someone else in your team. Everyone’s performance and the expectations riding on them are different. Measuring yourself against your team member could easily annoy your manager. Worse yet, it could imply your potential is at par with everyone else. Refrain from drawing comparisons with your team members and focus purely on yourself.

You never told me you’d base my performance on that?

Trying to save yourself by coming off as clueless or unaware isn’t going to win you any sympathy. In return you’re most likely going to get “you should’ve known, as did your entire team”. That’s precisely the trap you want to avoid falling into – being the lone ranger who didn’t know what was expected off them. Instead of retaliating, try diverting your manager’s attention on how you did meet their expectations.

This is what I get for all the years I’ve worked here?

If you think you’ll be rewarded simply because of the number of years you’ve been with the company, then you’re mistaken. Quality of your work will always speak more volumes of your performance than the quantity of years you’ve been with the company. Try rearranging that statement in a way that exhibits the value you’ve added and significant contributions you’ve made over the years.

Well, I did my part in the project.

Saving yourself while letting your colleagues take the fall spells out the type of selfish behavior and attitude that managers despise. Ask yourself how you helped the team, supported your colleagues and what initiatives you took to complete the project. Even if it didn’t end up as planned, taking ownership for your mistakes is key here. Besides, it’s not about the failure. Discuss with your manager the learnings you’ve extracted from your experience and how you’ve gained strength from it.

I worked really hard this year.

Well that’s just brilliant isn’t it? While all the others in the organization were fooling around, you proved how valuable you are by “working hard”. Working hard doesn’t get you any reward. It’s the bare minimum that’s expected from you and your scope of work. It’s what gets you paid at the end of the month. Rather than making loose statements like these, focus on specifics and details on how you went over the above your job description.

Well if you replied to my emails in which I raised some queries I’d be able to meet some of my deadlines.

Throwing your mistakes or shortcomings back at your manager isn’t really going to let you off the hook. A missed deadline, is a missed deadline – anyway you look at it. In response you’ll hear things like “you could have asked someone from the team for help”, or “you could have researched about it”, or even “you should have completed it even if it was incorrect”. Instead of all this, work with your manager to come up with a solution where they can support you better. Make them feel like you need their guidance from time to time though you’re still quite capable of working independently.

Approaching the performance review interview as an opportunity is probably your best bet. Rather than just focusing on gaining some great reward, try altering your approach. Who knows, maybe this year you’ll find earn your managers praise, just when you least expected it.

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Author: Paul Keijzer

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