Are you Competent? Top 10 Skills to Ace Your Next Performance Review

  • Do you have an upcoming performance review?
  • Want to WOW your boss?
  • Anxious, worried, tongue-tied?
Let me take the stress and guesswork out of your next performance review. If you are like most people you are dreading this meeting. Having been on both sides of the fence I know that neither side is very comfortable. Check out my previous post on Performance Reviews - which describes 4 common types of managers you may face.


The latest business research has found that competencies, rather than raw IQ or intelligence scores are the key to career success. A skilled, career coach can help you find your competencies and build upon your core strenghts!

The role of a career coach is similar to that of a personal trainer. Both professionals, test./access, interpret results, formulate a plan and coach clients through the process. As a career coach, I use tests which uncover a clients' core competencies and skills and then collaborate to create a realistic, career plan. Additionally, I  provide skills training  and ideas to help implement the plan. Ideally, clients would incorporate their competency work into their daily routine. The biggest take away I can provide is to look at the bigger picture for skill development. ie: don't just focus on learning a new computer program, but think about how to expand your overall, technical skills. Think about how this can benefit your department, division and your company as a whole. Just like a personal trainer, I have regular sessions with clients to support their progress and provide feedback. Take your career from an individual contributor, to a manager and even to an executive role.

Here is my Top 10 List.
If you already exhibit many of these "competencies" - don't be shy. Bring them up in your next performance review and tell your boss how they relate to the organizations objectives. See his or her jaw drop.

1. Initiative: Can you identify what needs to be done, before your boss asks you to do it?

2. Innovation: Do you have a track record of trying new methods, tools, techniques, ideas? Can you spot big picture trends in your field and help your organization change with the times?

3. Results or Solution Focused: Do you set challenging goals for yourself? Looking  back, do you meet or exceed your own goals?

4. Attention to Detail/Thoroughness: Are you careful to proofread your work, check and double check for potential errors?

5. Technical Expertise: Do you have a depth and breadth of knowledge in a particular technical area? Is this above and beyond what other colleagues in your job-function exhibit in their day to day work?

6. Research/Diagnostics and Information: are you able to identify where, how and who to approach to get information for a particular problem? This involves relyling on your work relationships, not just data gathering.

7. Analytical/Strategic Thinking: Are you able to logically, problem solve challenging issues which your division encounters frequently? Do you understand the position of company within it's industry? Can you assist with developing new markets or creating a competitive advantage?

8. Forward Thinking: Are you able to anticipate implications and consequences of situations? Do you plan for multiple contingencies: good and bad. Plan A, B and C?

9. Self Confidence and Credibility: Are you sure of your own ideas and abilities? Is this confidence based in a realistic assessment of yourself? Can you take an unpopular stance, if needed? Do people view you are trustworthy and reliable?

10. Flexibility: are you open to new ideas, new ways of doing things and willing to change if needed? Or are you stuck in a rut?

Interpersonal Intelligence and Emotional IQ are essential for career progression as you take on responsiblities for mentoring and coaching your own staff. Integrating competencies within the performance review process is a great idea, which is long overdue. Rather than just reviewing your yearly, accomplishments, competencies allow you to analyze which broader skills sets you can work on. This is a great feedback mechanism and mechanism for setting new, yearly goals. At the very least, review the broader competencies and identify categories where you need improvement.

Often the things we avoid the most, are the ones we most need to work on.


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 Author: © 2011 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon B. Cohen, MA, CPRP, NDCA. Licensed Counselor. Virtual Career Counselor, Career Transition Specialist, Social Media Job Search Coach.
"Helping business professionals, reach their career potential!"

• Sharon B. Cohen on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonbcohen/
• My Career Manager on Twitter http://twitter.com/MyCareerManager




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