There’s things HR folks want to tell you about performance, but probably never will. Don’t get me wrong, HR is your advocate. They want what is best for you (and the company), but the reality is you have to be your own advocate.
If you are waiting for the day your manager calls you in to talk about performance, you’re already behind. Here are five ways you can take the wheel:
You haven’t received a raise in over a year and you’re still holding your breath. What do you do?
Before you ask for that raise, understand that businesses don’t just hand them out to every employee. They have a budget to stick to and they’re worried about keeping their top talent, which is typically only about 15% of the workforce.
If you believe you’re a key asset to your company but are still being ignored, then you should evaluate your position and/or the organization you work for.
On the other hand, if you acknowledge that you’re an average performer but aspire to be among the top 15%, the best place to start is being really good at one thing that solves problems in your company. Don’t be an inch deep across many broad areas. Whether it’s analyzing the sh*t out of a budget as a financial analyst, or being a meticulously organized project manager, your efforts will be noticed!
2. Be a listener. Then, execute like a mutha.
Admitting that you don’t know everything will not only open up horizons to learn more and cultivate new ideas, but also gives you credibility. Having a student mentality is really important for growth. The more you grow in areas your company needs, the more valuable you are.
If you act like you know everything, you will alienate yourself. So listen and be curious. Spark conversations with those who are successful in areas that you’d like to excel, even if you don’t share similar views, and ask lots of questions.
Also, show up and get. sh*t. done. because not everyone else does. Create and execute processes that allow you and your team to deliver more efficiently. Be proactive and ask your boss and team members if you can help with a specific problem. Don’t be a flake.
3. Put your business hat on.
One way to ease into a top performer mindset is to think like a leader. Shifting your lens of an employee to that of a leader who has to worry about paying salaries and pleasing their board of directors, will bring clarity to priorities and what’s important.
Look into what it takes to be profitable. Start taking an interest in the business from the founder or executive’s perspective. You’ll soon begin to understand why the decisions that are made by the organization are being made.
4. Be your own advocate.
Are you feeling jaded at work or burnt out? A huge part of self-advocating is keeping the lines of communication open with your manager and team mates. If you’re dealing with too much on your plate, a stressful commute, or not having received a raise in a long time, these are all valid concerns worth sharing. A manager’s job is to help you remove barriers to your success, but you can’t assume that people know what’s bothering you. Speak up.
5. Leave if you’re not happy
So you’ve assessed your performance and you’re killing it. You communicate well and everyone seems to love you and your work, but you still have not received a raise. If you have turned into a constant ball of stress that regularly fantasizes about walking out the door, then maybe it’s a sign that you should leave.
But, wait…remember that the grass may not be greener on the other side. Sometimes our dissatisfaction in one area shades our overall experience at work. Before we know it, our “I hate this loud work area” or “I hate that I don’t have bonus opportunity” turns into “I hate my job with every fibre of my being”.
Make sure you know what you want in your next opportunity and do your due diligence. Check out Glassdoor.com for company reviews, CEO approval ratings, and compensation reviews. LinkedIn message someone who used to work there and ask them why they left.
So you took the wheel and maybe you got that promotion or raise. Now, what? Solving a big problem or getting a promotion is cause for celebration, but you’ve got to find ways to fuel your performance for the long term. Enjoy your wins when you get them and be present during achievements, but make sure you revisit your performance often to avoid drifting back to average.