One of the traits that sets top performers apart from everyone else is their ability to assess their own work performance and make the necessary changes to stay on top. They are constantly checking to make sure that they are staying on the right path to achieve their goals.
As you are driving down the road in your car or riding your bicycle, do you check often to make sure you are staying on the road? If you start to go off the road, you probably make the appropriate corrections in your steering to make sure that you remain on the street. What would happen if you didn’t? Without watching where you are going, you would end up in a ditch or hitting a guard rail.
The same is true in our school and work lives. If we aren’t constantly assessing how our careers are going, we are likely to end up in a ditch. In this case, the ditch might be getting passed over for promotions, not receiving pay increases, or not receiving the opportunity to apply for other positions elsewhere.
Here are three concrete steps you can take today to assess your performance and make sure you are standing out from the crowd.
An easy way to find out how you compare to your coworkers is to ask your supervisor. If you haven’t had a review recently, request one. Ask where you rank among your teammates and solicit feedback on what you are doing well and how you could improve.
If you have a coworker you trust, ask for his or her honest feedback on your performance. Have they heard about positive or negative comments about you around the office? You don’t want to ask them to tell something that was shared in confidence, but they may be willing to share any comments that they have heard without giving names or specifics.
One great way to get feedback is ask your coworker how they would describe you to others. Is this how you want to be known? If you really want an honest answer, ask this question after a few beverages at happy hour.
The most important thing to remember is to not get upset when hearing any negative comments or recommendations for improvement. Your coworkers should be willing to share their opinion if you have a high level of trust and they know that you genuinely want to improve yourself.
If you start looking for the signals, you can see how you compare to your peers. Sometimes we don’t want to see what is going on around us, but if you start paying attention, you will see how well you are regarded.
Are you being given the big projects? Or are you being passed over for major new assignments? Who does the boss go to with questions?
If the projects or questions are coming to you, this is a good indication that you are one of the most trusted members of the team. If they aren’t, honestly ask yourself why this is the case. Are your coworkers more knowledgeable than you? Do they have more experience? Are they easier to get along with? Are you missing your commitments and deadlines? What can you do to fix any problems or make up for your lack of experience or knowledge?
I have made no secret about the fact that I love analytics. I love numbers and like to turn everything into a spreadsheet or into a percentage. So you may be asking how you can integrate hard numbers into analyzing your job performance.
A few years ago I had a job where I was one of over 50 new hires that started with the company at the same time. We all began with the same title and salary. This provided me with a natural peer group that I could measure myself against.
During my employment at the company, I maintained a spreadsheet of all of my coworkers, their departments, and titles. I updated the spreadsheet every time someone was promoted, moved to a new department, or left the company. This provided me with benchmarks that I could compare my position with the company.
I was always aware of how many of coworkers had been promoted or moved on to new jobs within the company. I used this to assess whether I was doing better or worse than the average.
This might seem a bit excessive, but it worked for me. This approach won’t be ideal for everyone, especially those at smaller firms or companies where title isn’t as important, but it can be a great measurement tool that you can utilize.
Look for ways to measure your own performance over time or versus your peers. Can you calculate your time utilization rate? Are you able to track how long it takes you to perform a task now versus a week or month ago?
How do you assess your work performance? Do you use any methods that I didn’t cover?