Taking control of your career with a winning appraisal

Written by
Changeboard Team

04 Aug 2014

04 Aug 2014 • by Changeboard Team

Maximising your appraisal value

Your appraisal is your own personal chance to step into the spotlight and discuss your career progression through sharing your achievements and thoughts, as well as your objectives for the future. You will receive feedback on your successes and behaviours and will be able to take the lead in driving your personal development within the organisation.

Taking the lead

Many people are under the illusion that your appraisal is led by your manager – the appraiser – when actually it should be the opposite.

The appraisal is led by you, the appraisee. Whether or not your company uses the process of self-evaluation, you should not just be the recipient of feedback from your manager in the meeting. By taking the lead you can ensure that your manager is given a broader and the most accurate picture of your role, your achievements, performance and aspirations.

Taking this concept one step forward, you should ask yourself the following question: who knows my job best, me, or the appraiser? The answer is obviously you, as you know your job better than anybody.

It is also important to remember that the onus of your development is on you, not just your manager. You are not responsible for your manager’s leadership skills and therefore you need to ensure you get the most out of your appraisal, and it's vital that you prepare for it.


The best way to prepare for your appraisal is through self-appraisal – documenting how well your task objectives have been met in the past year.

One of the most common things we hear from people is that they have not been set objectives – our answer to this? Set your own. If you have not been set objectives in your role, take the initiative and set some out for yourself that you can take to discuss with your manager. This way you are taking responsibility and control of your development.

Preparing for your appraisal 4 key steps

Four key steps to consider when preparing for your appraisal and how to ensure you do yourself justice:

  1. Did your objective(s) get re-prioritised? This is important, as these changes will shift your focus upon which objectives need to be discussed or ones that need to be abandoned/delayed.
  2. Checking against your task outcomes (in terms of success criteria, i.e. quantity, quality, time and cost). This criteria demonstrates how you can measure the success of your work, whilst avoiding subjectivity. All well written objectives contain measurements and once measured, they can then be reviewed as evidence.
  3. Review the value of any training/development – has this helped you complete your objectives? You may have attended a valuable training course. If so, what did you learn from it? How did you apply this learning to your objective(s)? Can you demonstrate the impact that this course has had on your role and as a result, the benefits it's given to the business?
  4. Discuss your career development aspirations. Performance review appraisal meetings give you the platform to discuss where you wish to take your career. Delivering high performance behaviours against your agreed objectives is naturally followed by what else you can do for the company.