Picture this:  You are writing your annual performance review and staring at the screen trying to articulate what you have done for the past year and how you did it.  You look over your goals and find that you got so wrapped up in the day-to-day activities or management crisis, that you ask yourself, “where did the time go and what did I do.”  Or you are a manager with the task of writing and delivering a stack of performance appraisals and struggle with giving your team constructive feedback that will yield more productivity from the same resources.  Getting a new team is not an option — your responsibility is to grow the one you have.  Whether you are a writing your own review or writing your team’s reviews, here’s another approach.

  • Start with a few key leadership competencies such as what you are working one, either  (1) strategic — goals that create capacity, new products and services — more future oriented and (2) Tactical — delivering the results today.  Then, competencies that focus on how you work with others, (1) Forceful, direct and decisive or (2) collaborative, building alliances and partnerships.
  • Identify your peers, managers and direct reports, if any.  The people who are impacted by your work.
  • Talk to each person and ask, “What are my strengths?  How can I be more effective?”  What do I need to continue to do, start doing, stop doing.
  • Look for the patterns in the data, pick one or two that might make the biggest impact.  Ask, “what do I need to do to get out of my comfort zone.” 
  • Develop an action plan that answers the question, “I want to learn how to ….”
  • Communicate it back to the people you spoke to and ask them to give you on-going feedback.

You probably recognize this as a “360 evaluation” but the difference is that you take the ownership to collect the data on yourself or your team. 

When is the last time you did this?  What did you learn?

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