It was my first year-end review. I was not sure what to expect. I took some time the day and morning before to compile my year accomplishments and highlights, biggest challenges and weaknesses and areas of improvement for 2016. The plan was to meet my boss at Texas T-Bone for dinner and discuss these objectives. A couple of steaks and brief discussion would not take very long, right?
About three and a half hours later, lots of comments and feedback had been shared. My mind was running at 100 miles per hour (just a little faster than the typical 75 mph). I felt overwhelmed, excited, uncertain, frustrated and encouraged throughout the conversation. I was choking among my own flood of emotions.
It did not get easier from there.
My line manager is challenging.
I shall refer to him as “Mr. Manager” throughout this post, as his name is irrelevant. His actions are not.
He asks the tough questions and expects answers. He seeks collaboration and ownership on projects. Above all, he wants me, as a direct report, to be successful and happy. He knows what drives me. Mr. Manager is a very talented at reading people, understanding them and using that knowledge to hold fruitful conversations. When I first started on his team, I was not sure how it would go. We are both very goal driven and results-oriented. But, besides that, our personalities differ. He is more blunt, outgoing and downright ornery. However, these characteristics combined make an insightful, charismatic leader.
Mr. Manager is one that does not necessarily follow a script. He develops something unique for each employee. He has demonstrated this through actions this first year. He also discussed it as we began our discussion of our year-end review.
My conversations with him may be very different from other sales employees. Just like each customer is different, with different wants, needs and interests, so are employees. Mr. Manager explained that because of this, he does not want a “year-end review” to only happen once a year. It should be a continuous process for feedback, collaboration and meeting and exceeding expectations. Communication is required. However, there is one trait valued above the rest.
Any business who seeks continued growth, progress and success needs trust. Trust opens the doors to improved, transparent communication. It keeps intentions clear. They should not be called “year-end reviews”. Instead, we should think of them as “check ups” and “progress meetings”. There is no end to growth and development until we leave Earth. Reviews should occur frequently to record steps towards positive behaviors and positive results. They also identify areas of improvement or things we could have changed or done differently.
I am fortunate that my first “year-end review” is more of a 2015 progress meeting and 2016 planning discussion. Things do not get easier, but full of new challenges and opportunities. I have trust in God’s plan for me. I have trust in the process. I have trust in Mr. Manager checking in along the way and assisting me improve to be better.
What about you? How can you turn that “year end review” into a check up or progress meeting? Do you trust the process in your organization or workplace? How can you get to that point with your line manager or boss?
Get some moxie. Ask the hard questions. Keep moving towards a bigger future ahead.