Then it comes to performance reviews, too many of us are surprised by the performance review ratings we get from our managers. Some of that is management, of course, but it takes two to tango. Even when we think we’ve done a great job, too often we do subtle things that undermine our performance. Even when we aren’t a poor job performer, we often look like one.
Our status reports suck
Most people have to turn in status reports weekly to their manager. This is the perfect time to show your job performance. Yet, most of us punt the status report thinking no one pays attention to it. So we put in little, or way too much, and focus on our activities instead of our accomplishments that week. Our status reports kill our personal brand one week at a time. Then, we get to the review and there is no meat to write about.
E-mail practices are poor
Effective performers use e-mail to show their performance. They are short, to the point, and ask for what is needed up front. Too many of us have yet to learn that long e-mails, convoluted questions and poor e-mail response times hurt your job performance.
We go to way too many meetings. If we organize them, they are done poorly — lacking organization, an agenda, the right tools for the meeting and getting to decisions.
If we participate in meetings, we are not prepared for our portion, take the meeting off-topic, and don’t respect the opinions of others. We’re not willing to advocate our solution — if we have one.
When we don’t do meetings right, it looks like we don’t do our job right.
We poorly communicate with management
Management wants our opinions and what to do about situations. Yet, too often we blindingly blather on about what we think the problem is and take forever to get to a solution. We don’t lay out a path that the manager can follow.
When you speak to management, you need to state your opinion up front, then talk about why it is your opinion. Without a roadmap to follow, management won’t think you know what you are talking about.
You whine about stuff you have no control over
Every team has one: the person who whines about what Senior VP’s say in a meeting. Or how if only that other group would solve their problems things would be OK.
In your work, you need to focus on what you can control and influence. When you are boiling the ocean of another department, you don’t look like you are doing the job the company is paying you to do.
Yes, results AND perception count
I’m a big advocate for results matter. But perception does as well. If you can’t show your performance in a status report or don’t do well in meetings, it looks like your job performance sucks. Minimally, you put your manager in a position of having to defend your results when it comes to performance review time all because you are perceived as a poor performer.
Even if you deliver, you can look like you are a poor performer.
What other ways can you look bad on the job?