“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
~ Elbert Hubbard, an American writer
When I started working, I used to hate when my leader would sit me down and give me “constructive feedback” because I would hear “constructive criticism!” I would become defensive and tell myself I knew what I was doing. Then, after calming down, I would grudgingly agree I could have done better. Luckily, I quickly learned that was NOT the way to improve my skills, grow, or develop relationships with colleagues or leaders.
Feedback is a Gift
Each employee is responsible for getting their tasks done and accountable for results.
There are days when we do exceptional work and other days not so much. When you receive positive input, you feel great and know you are on the right track. If things don’t go how we expect, listening to negative feedback on how we can do better is a gift. Instead of making excuses or complaining, decide how you will correct it based on the new information.
Develop a Growth Plan
A Growth Plan provides a path from where you are now to where you want to be in six months, a year, etc. It does not have to be complex. Instead, you should feel excited when you review it because it is on paper and makes your vision real. If you developed Front and Back Pocket Plans (see my previous blog, Create Your Front and Back Pocket Plans (https://bit.ly/2T17l61) to assist you in preparing for planned or unexpected changes), you could easily combine them with this plan.
Some questions to get you started would be:
- What motivates me?
- What skills do I want to develop to add value to my career?
- How would I like others to perceive me?
- What do I like to do, and what tasks do I want to do less?
- What habits are sabotaging me?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how compelling is my career vision?
Routines to cultivate
Status Reports – Whether or not your leader wants a written status, keep track of your accomplishments. For example, I had a client disappointed and angry that her leader did not recognize everything she did during her performance review. However, she did not update him because she felt he should have known. He had a team of 20 people! Impossible for anyone to keep track. Your responsibility is to let your leader know about all the value you bring to the job.
Testimonials – If someone compliments you, let your leader know. If they send it as a text, email, Slack DM, etc., forward it to your leader. It is not bragging. It is a “Thought you would like to see what our customer thinks about our service” message. In other words, you are responsible for showing your value and your work.
Request Feedback Often – You should never be blindsided by your yearly performance review. At one-on-ones, ask for their perception of what you are doing right and what you could do better. Share your career goals and ask for their support and mentoring in achieving those goals.
Plan Your Day – Yes, it will change radically but take 15 minutes before your day starts to prioritize the three things you must accomplish, so they remain uppermost in your mind. Then, as emergencies arise, remember there are “Urgent and Important” and “Urgent and Not Important.” Finally, you decide what you will tackle.
Calendaring – Add placeholders to check emails or work on projects. Meetings with yourself are as important as meeting with colleagues or customers.
Debrief Your Day – At the end of your day, take 15 minutes to consider what went well and what could have been better. Then, celebrate the good stuff and think about handling the other stuff differently to achieve better results.
If you try any of these recommendations, you will find developing yourself more fun, exciting, and straightforward.
Let me know how it goes!