Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What to Say When You Get a Good Review

I finally got my annual review from my boss the other day.  All in all, it was really strong.  I did well across the board and scored really well in some key categories like "results focus" and "subordinate management".  I appropriately got some areas for improvement.  Most of it revolved around my somewhat abrupt style of talking at times.  While I pride myself on being an excellent communicator, there are times when I get into arguments that I can be very short with people.  I have a strong personality and when I think I am right, I REALLY think I am right.  If I am dealing with people who just do not see it my way, and I feel passionate, I admit I can be somewhat abrasive and condescending.

Ironically, I also got feedback that while I am very focused on my work and the work of my team I tend to do it at the exclusion of others.  That is, if it is not one of my projects, I do not really care as much to see it to the finish line.  Well duh!  I do not mind getting the feedback.  If people feel that way and wish to point it out to me, I am happy to hear the feedback and see if there is something I can do about it.  But I find it a little bit ironic that I would get praised for my results focused but get the feedback that I should divert some of that focus to help others achieve.  It is not that these two things are mutually exclusive, but there is a reason I am good at accomplishing my goals and hitting my deadlines.  I bring deep focus for myself and my team on the things we work on.  I get my team moving in the same direction and that requires doing this by deflecting external distractions.

In any case, my review was positive.  I got strong remarks from my main customer, the SVP of the division and that was probably the most important thing.  He is perhaps my strongest supporter and he is the person who probably matters the most.  But during my review I kept thinking to myself, "What the heck am I supposed to say to this?"  What do you say when your review is almost all positive.  All I could think of was, "Thanks" and then I focused on my areas of growth.  I just felt like saying anything more would just be silly.  Despite my rather large ego, I do not like people singing my praises and get uncomfortable in those situations.  So I moved the conversation on to other things.

The thing is, I do not think most people say anything.  I have had to give several reviews and many of them were really strong.  I do not remember having too many deep conversations with people who have done well in their review.  So I ask you, what do you say when you get a great review?  Do you go over why you got a great review?  Do you want more specifics about why you are so great?

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