November 14, 2019

End-of-Year Checklist: Getting Your Manager Ready

Get your manager ready for your performance review? You read that correctly – it’s probably MOST important as you get ready for the end-of-the-year.

Yesterday was four years since I ditched my corporate gig to start Engaged Pursuit. Holy [insert what you want here]!!

Since then, I’ve partnered with thousands of individuals across hundreds of organizations to create a more engaging professional experience. I’m grateful and feel super-lucky to be able to make this kind of impact on the world.

As 2019 comes to a close, I’m preparing you for one of the most important conversations of the year – your Performance Review. My intent: Arm you with a quick/easy checklist to make this experience great. Last week was all about getting YOU ready. This week … it’s all about getting YOUR MANAGER ready.

“Wait, getting my manager ready?,” you ask. “Aren’t they already ready for this? Isn’t this a huge part of their role?”

Unfortunately, in my experience, the answer is NO.

As I mentioned last week, I’m working with Julie who had a really strong 2019. Lots of results, great partnerships, and a good path forward. Unfortunately, her 2018 was not as strong and she’s nervous about how her Performance Review will REALLY go with this challenging history.

Some of the questions she’s asking herself: (1) Will my manager be able to separate my results this year from last? (2) Do others in the Performance Review discussion know about my impact in 2019? (3) Am I ready to articulate my year to others and (more importantly) to myself?

Julie’s especially nervous about #1– Does her manager have what she needs to make that positive Performance Review decision this year?

Here’s the checklist I handed Julie to ensure she’s appropriately preparing her manager as 2019 comes to a close:

  • _____ Am I using the same Performance Review language as my manager? Re-visit previous Performance Reviews, formal feedback emails, and organizational presentations to align language for this year. Through this activity, you’ll get a sense of important keywords and phrases you might include in your documentation. A little homework can go a long way here (and impress your boss)!
  • _____ Am I able to quickly and confidently articulate my Performance Review Story to my manager? This should be a 2 or 3 minute discussion covering what you did, how you did it, and the impact to the customer/group/technology/organization. If you’re nervous, checkout my recommended checklist from last week.
  • _____ Do I know how my manager will represent me during the upcoming Performance Review discussions? What specific language will be used? What results will be highlighted? Literally ASK your manager how they are going to talk about you during the manager meetings (I know, I know … you’re turning green with fear right about now aren’t you??). I get it … but ask! You have the right to know, and have the ability to influence prior. Here’s an example: “Could you say XXX instead of YYY when describing this project impact?” What a perfect opportunity for you!
  • _____ Are there gaps that I need to address (thinking about both the “what” and the “how”) prior to the Performance Review discussion? Talking early with your boss can ensure you close any gaps that might exist in your performance. Quickly execute and check-in to ensure you’ve addressed these gaps!
  • _____ Does my manager have enough third-party feedback to accurate represent me during the upcoming Performance Review? As you probably know, feedback is a key part of the process. Three things to think about – volume (do I have enough people giving me feedback), quality (is this feedback deep/impactful), and diversity (are both the good and the bad relationships included). People not providing feedback? Think about sending them bullet-points to consider or maybe take them out to Starbucks (see below).
  • _____ Do I need a mini PR-campaign? Am I showing-up appropriately in the office? Am I raising my hand and providing a positive attitude? Might it be fun to have the next 1:1 at a Starbucks or out for lunch? I know it might sound ridiculous, but these little things really do make a difference – especially during this important time. And yes, you do have a brown nose (and that’s ok – haha)!
  • _____ Is my manager clear on my Career Plan for the next 12-18 months? Remember, the FUTURE is often part of these Performance Review discussions. Managers want to know if you’re “all-in” for the future (especially if a promotion is on the table), so get clear here!
  • _____ Do I need help? You know how to get a hold of me.

Next time I’m focusing on another important group – your stakeholders/customers/partners. So, grab that Peppermint Mocha and get ready!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

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The Engaged Pursuit Podcast

In our weekly podcast, Engaged Pursuit Founder Tom Perry highlights the most pressing issues for employees and managers across the tech sector. With his real-world, relatable style, Tom delivers quick, insightful, employee-centered career content to help tech pros, executives and teams address the issues common to a career in tech -- from job changes and workplace challenges, to bad bosses and feeling “stuck.” Available on Apple and Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast.

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