My annual performance review at work is coming up shortly, and this year they’ve decided to do things a bit differently. For the first time in my career, I’ve been asked to perform a self-evaluation. There’s no form to fill out. Overall, it’s very unstructured; we’re simply being asked to list out our strengths, weaknesses, and goals for the next 12 months.
Most people I’ve talked to about self-evals have pretty negative feelings towards the process. Some feel like it’s a waste of time, that it doesn’t mean anything. And maybe it doesn’t in an official capacity, but I do think self-assessment is an important exercise from a personal standpoint. In fact, in a way I already do this. I periodically take mental stock of what areas I need to work on and create a plan to tackle them. I enjoy setting goals for myself, raising the bar, and then holding myself accountable.
Sure, your manager probably sets goals for you in his/her review. But oftentimes your manager is removed from all of the technical details and day to day aspects of your job. He may not know exactly what skills are necessary for you to perform your job well, and what skills you lack. Ultimately, you know best where your weaknesses lie and what you want or need to work on. It just makes sense that you should be the one setting goals for yourself.
The only part of this process I don’t already do on a regular basis is evaluate my strengths. I’m a pretty self-deprecating person, and listing out all of the wonderful things about me just doesn’t come naturally. So having a process in place that forces me to appreciate what I do well is a good thing, if you ask me.
Other folks think self-evaluations actually have a negative impact, since we’re more likely to be harder on ourselves than other people would be. And they may have a point. I know I personally find it easier to enumerate my weaknesses than my strengths. But again, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Whether you write them down or not, your weaknesses are still there. And ignoring them isn’t going to make them disappear. Why not confront them and come up with a plan to work on them. Turn your weaknesses into goals.