While most jobs will hold performance evaluations during the year to let you know where you need to improve, not all companies or managers will do this well. In some cases, you may find that the evaluations are neutral, giving you little or nothing to work with. In others, the supervisor may give unsatisfactory advice or simply forgo the constructive criticism you’d hope to hear in order to continuously improve your skills and performance. In these cases, you will need to come up with your own performance metrics.
Why You Need Goals
Without a good idea of where to improve, you’ll find yourself in a rut, and probably not very happy or challenged in your job. That’s why it’s a good idea to come up with your own evaluations if the company doesn’t offer you any suitable suggestions.
When you improve your work related skills, you’ll find that you increase your chances of:
- Earning more
- Learning new skills and gaining the confidence in your peers and managers to take on new roles and projects
Step One: Identify Trouble Spots
A few questions can help you figure out your weak spots, though you will likely have an idea already if you make a habit of evaluating yourself. Answer the questions and keep a log of the information down to help you keep track of it.
What have people spoken to you about in the past? It isn’t always your supervisor who offers the best criticism. If someone else has mentioned something you’ve missed in your job or on a specific project, then this could indicate an area you need to work on.
What areas do you struggle with in your job? Chances are you already have an idea of where you feel uncomfortable in your job. These are areas that could be improved and you are in the best position to identify them.
How could you better serve the company? Is there anything you could do to improve your efficiency? The more you bring to your company, the more likely you are to be recognized for your efforts.
How could you better serve your clients? In every company, the customers or clients are the most important factor, so it’s worth it to make sure you are serving them to your utmost ability. Think of how you treat your clients. Could you do anything to improve the experience for them?
Which areas or tasks do you tend to put off in your job? If you are avoiding certain aspects of your job or always procrastinate on the same thing, then it is probably an area you could work on.
Once you have your list of areas to improve on, it’s time to move to Step Two.
Step Two: Setting Goals for Improvement
Don’t attempt to fix everything at once. Instead, choose one or two areas to work on first. These should be areas that really affect your job performance and be noticeable if you work on them.
Make sure you choose realistic goals. Look at the big picture and break it down into the appropriate milestones. A plan will help you stay motivated and allow you to see your progress.
Don’t forget to give yourself a specific time limit to reach your milestones and goals. These should also be reasonable, don’t expect dramatic changes in just a few days, of course.
Take your plan to a supervisor and go over it. While the supervisor may not have been the one to come up with the ideas for improvement, he or she will likely see the wisdom of your ideas and can offer some tips or advice on improving in the areas you have chosen (and perhaps give you the additional feedback you’ve been hoping to hear). It shows your employers you are proactive and motivated in your career – all important characteristics to continue to move ahead.
Tips for Success
If you want to be successful in your pursuit of improvement, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind.
- Keep it simple.
- Be realistic.
- Make your goals measurable.
- Always be evaluating.
Remember S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.