Annual reviews are always a tension-filled occasion, no matter the environment in which you work. Even in a friendly, nurturing work environment, no one relishes the prospect of interrogation and possible criticism. When asked in advance of your review to complete a self-evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses, it can feel like you are being given a length of rope to hang yourself. However, this is not the case. Self-evaluations can be a tool to help you and your boss manage your performance and expectations so that you both can win.
Self-evaluations allow your supervisor to view your job and your performance in a way he cannot on his own — through your eyes. He does not do your job on a daily basis, so he has no idea of what happens, what works, what validates you and what frustrates you. Maybe there are things that can be done better or more efficiently that only you see. These things can help you and your supervisor make the most out of your position. The more honest your self-evaluation is, the better the results.
Knowing your strengths and communicating them to your employer is never a negative, even if it costs you a job. Unless you are in a position that utilizes and enhances your strengths, you will never truly excel. The most you can do is tread water. There might be changes that can be made or responsibilities added to your position that better suit your strengths and create a win-win situation for you and your employer. There might be another position within the same company that will utilize all that you can contribute. It could be that you are not the right person for your job or your company’s needs, and you might find more fulfillment and happiness elsewhere in a job that utilizes your strengths more directly.
Self-evaluations that ask you to list your strengths can motivate you. Making a list of your strengths serves as a form of positive reinforcement and builds self-worth. It reminds you of why you are special, which boosts confidence, having a positive effect on your work and attitude. It also serves to remind your supervisor of the skills you have to offer in a neutral setting.
While it can be humbling and uncomfortable, making a list of weaknesses during a self-evaluation is also valuable. Knowing what your weaknesses are helps you identify the places for improvement and discover patterns behind your shortfalls. Then you can get the assistance you need to perform better. This assistance can take the form of training, education, coaching, mentoring and other support systems.
Using your weaknesses to set personal, meaningful goals can be a strong motivating factor. Maybe you discover you have trouble meeting sales quotas because you are uncomfortable making phone calls. You never know what to say. After your evaluation, your supervisor gives you additional training on how to make phone calls and strategies on how to be more comfortable making them. You set a goal for the number of calls you make per day, which raises your sales numbers to help you meet your quota. Without evaluating your weaknesses, you would not have been able to achieve that improvement.