Thursday, April 30, 2009
What Your Boss Really Wants to Hear in Your Next Performance Evaluation
Tests are often the bane of every student's existence -- they hate them and often don't consider them a true evaluation of what they know.
Fast forward many years, and you're once again facing a test. Only this time it's called a performance evaluation and once again, you don't believe it's a true reflection of your abilities.
The problem with tests and performance evaluations is that the power is often in the hands of the teacher or the boss. You don't really know exactly what you're going to be asked, and so may then do poorly when put on the spot.
But what if I told you that there may be a way to figure out what you're going to be asked in your next performance evaluation? Or, at least have answers prepared that will keep you from freezing like a third-grader who doesn't know his state capitals?
All bosses want the same thing. They want employees who are going to make them look better and smarter. And always, always, always, employees have to help them make money. It's the same thing, in other words, that their bosses want.
If you understand that your success depends on helping the boss get what he wants, then you can structure your answers to make sure you meet those goals. This is what you should always keep in mind when heading into a performance evaluation:
1. Find ways you make him look better. Do you review materials before they are sent to clients to make sure there are no errors? Do you follow up with unhappy customers to make sure they have a positive image of your company? Do you forward him key industry news so that he is prepared when he meets with his boss? Helping the boss look better to his boss, to customers and to peers helps the boss see the worth of having you around. Sprinkle examples throughout your meeting, so that he is reminded of how good you make him look.
2. Show that he's a genius. If you can find ways to streamline a process to save time and money, then you're going to please the boss. The boss's boss is probably breathing down his neck to find ways to cut costs and work more efficiently, so anything you can do in that area will score points. Can you come in under budget on a project? Is a new technology you discovered going to bring in more customers? Give examples of how your work travels up the ladder -- you take pressure off him because you're such a smart cookie.
3. Look for bottom-line results. Did you find a mistake from a supplier that shows your company was overcharged? Have you thought of a way to attract a new client? Have your networking efforts resulted in a new strategic partner? Companies are under enormous pressure to bring in new business in a difficult economy, so bosses are going to be even more focused on bringing in additional revenue. Always be sure you mention how your actions show you're watching that bottom line at all times. Because he sure is.
What are some other ways to help a performance evaluation go smoothly?