Finding an Evaluation Method for You
We usually have determined by the time we enter management that no single method works for everyone. When you’re evaluating yourself you need to consider your work environment and expectations. Also take into consideration how you most harshly view yourself. We’ll touch back in on the reasoning of this, but be in the mindset of seeing yourself in the worst light.
Performance evaluations are normally a really comfortable starting point for those who are new to self-evaluation. It’s common for management to do performance evaluations with staff and often a familiar format for managers. Most companies also have their own performance evaluation that you can use.
A work critique is great for an office position or where most of your job duties are involving documentation. Recall three documents from one month ago, three months ago and six months ago. Compare your work between the months. Did you have up and downs? Is it apparent in your work when you were frustrated or stressed? Find your best work, then compare the others to it.
Separate the Strengths
You don’t want to view a strength as if it compensates for a weakness. In school my common defense against teacher attacks were, “I can’t do math at a certain level, but I can take down most books in a day”. Don’t resort to acknowledging a well-known strength when a weakness is brought up. From this point forward, the two do not exist together.
By separating your strengths you can also identify were you can grow these skills. One of the biggest downfalls in your career could be due to a new person being more developed in one of your best areas of work. Strive to constantly build your strengths, while being comfortable with working towards this. Expanding on your strengths also presents you as a greater asset than you may have initially thought yourself to be. People that play to their strengths win, and separating these for further development will only push your growth to the next level.
Where You Feel Strong
Through any of the three evaluations you found where you felt strong. Where you feel strongest may not even be where you perform best. It can be a task that you are most confident with, or an environment that you find empowering. I thrive in chaos. Shouted orders, deadlines, an insane sense of urgency and things on fire started my career. Even though I haven’t worked in restaurant management for some time now, that’s what I envision to get me going when I feel sluggish.
Capitalize on Strengths that are Important
Being comfortable is great, and if you’re more confident in certain areas by all means partake in those activities. Don’t forget to cash in on what you’re naturally good at though. In the evaluations you had the chance to look at your work broken down into pieces. What comes naturally is the easy tasks. Easy for you; these same tasks may take others much longer to finish and with lesser quality.
Myself I hate some of the areas where I ‘naturally excel’. I delegated these tasks for so long, and was disappointed because I felt that the individual should be more detailed. Defeated, I dropped my attempts to delegate and decided to do it myself. I don’t agree with my reasoning in taking away responsibility, but I saw in hindsight that I wasn’t working with my strengths.
Diagnose the Weaknesses
We saw in the self-evaluation some things that probably didn’t look so great. You probably knew some of your own weaknesses, it wasn’t until my first self-evaluation though that I realized how much they affected my job performance. I did a performance appraisal for the first year or so that I began evaluating. It exposed performance issues to me that I thought were limited to personal flaws.
Now knowing what our weaknesses are affecting we need to get to the root of the problem.
Individually dissect each weakness. Ask yourself:
1. Is this a character/behavior flaw?
2. Is this created from a habit?
3. Has this weakness a product from lack of development?
To Improve v. To Refocus
Somewhere along the way you have to decide whether this is something you can improve through hard work and development or a weakness you have to refocus. If you chose to work hard and power through this weakness, you’re amazing! Start with that mentality too, you are an amazing person for forcing yourself to overcome a weakness.
To refocus you’ll have some homework to do before you get started. Pin down each point of your weakness to determine your plan of attack. Try and view the weakness from all angles. Many people have a problem with communication. Imagine how your weakness seems from your employees, coworkers, boss and clients. What can you do to change this view? Compare this to how you want to be perceived and then fill in the blank spaces to get to that point.
The reasoning behind being harsh with yourself and to be as honest as possible is to have a clear picture of where you’re at. You don’t want to dilute the truth. By being transparent with yourself you will realize what it is that everyone that works with you sees every day. If you by choice or by chance go through a self-assessment and create a false image, you are directly harming yourself and your work.
Monitoring Progress between Self-Assessment
A self-assessment shouldn’t be a sporadic event. Schedule the time that you’ll be going over your progress and use this schedule to set goals. Use some aspect of your assessment results in your daily work. This all brought together will bring you to understand you strengths and weaknesses. Use assessment to build up your strengths and make your weaknesses work for you.