You work hard everyday, and you deserve to get credit for it. Having a clear understanding of what you are held accountable for and how you will be evaluated and what role you play in helping your organization achieve its goals are critical elements to a fulfilling career. It starts with you taking responsibility of making sure that you and your supervisor have a mutual understanding of these elements.
Thinking About Your Job
Before you meet with your supervisor to discuss your performance plan, you want to think about:
- What I do and how I perform my job duties
- How I contribute to the work that my group accomplishes
- How I support my team in working toward its goals
- How to capitalize on my strengths
- Where I need to improve and what support I need
Give yourself time to think about what you want to say and what you need to continue to be successful. The key activities you work on should be made into performance objectives. When thinking about your performance you need to focus on what your objectives are and how you will accomplish those objectives:
- Performance objectives identify what you are going to accomplish
- Performance elements identify how you are going to achieve your results
What Does Success Look Like?
Take a moment to think about:
- What success means to me
- How I identify it
- How to work towards achieving my goals
- How I evaluate my contribution and how I want my supervisor to evaluate my contribution
As you do this, you may want to ask yourself:
- What defines success in my organization?
- What behaviors do I need to demonstrate to indicate success?
- What results do I want to achieve and how can they be measured?
- What does my organization need from me in order to succeed?
- Can I explain my performance with concrete examples?
A few things to keep in mind:
- This should not be complicated
- This is not about being a good writer– it is about effectively documenting what will be accomplished during the year
- This is a chance to think about what you want to do with your career and what opportunities you need to take advantage of to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities you need to progress
At the beginning of the performance cycle, you and your supervisor should meet to discuss your work and the key activities you will engage in throughout the year and how you want to communicate with each other. This meeting is your opportunity to discuss with your supervisor what you should be focusing on so that you have shared expectations. During this meeting you also should discuss any developmental needs you have identified and request support from your supervisor. The support you receive may come in the form of training, mentoring, coaching or some other way that would be helpful for you. The conversation should serve as the foundation for an ongoing dialogue between you and your supervisor.
Monitoring Your Success
At regular intervals you and your supervisor should check in with each other to make sure you are on track to achieve your objectives. These sessions can occur through brief meetings or e-mail exchanges. How you communicate with your supervisor depends on you and your supervisor’s work styles and preferences. If the work you do has changed because your organization has taken on a new or different focus, then your objectives will also need to change to ensure your work is aligned with organizational goals.
As you monitor your performance, you will be able to identify strengths and examples of success. You will be able to see how you did and what you can do to repeat your successes. In addition, you will be able to note weaknesses and shortfalls as they happen. By taking time on a regular basis to monitor your performance, you have plenty of time to improve your performance, if necessary, before the performance cycle ends.
Communicating Your Accomplishments
It is your responsibility to communicate what you have achieved. It is your supervisor’s responsibility to help you achieve your objectives by creating an environment that fosters success. Because you have been having discussions with your supervisor, the results of your final meeting to discuss your accomplishments and performance evaluation should not be a surprise. Rather the meeting should be an opportunity to discuss how you have translated the objectives you established at the beginning of the cycle (or the ones you revised during the year, if that happened) into accomplishments.
As you document your accomplishments, you need to:
- Write them in a clear and concise manner
- Identify specific examples of what you achieved
- Identify specific examples of how your achievements were accomplished
- Demonstrate how your accomplishments support your organization achieving its goals
During this session, it is also a good idea for you to:
- Identify areas that you would like to improve
- Revisit your career goals
- Discuss what opportunities you were able to take advantage of during the year to enhance your knowledge, skills and abilities
Working in an organization where you know what is expected of you, where you have a shared vision of what you need to accomplish and where you receive ongoing feedback about your performance is a recipe for success. DCIPS encourages you to take ownership of your performance.