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The art of self-evaluation

... begins with self-appraisal and goes much beyond the next promotion and pay hike.

Nitya Varadarajan        Print Edition: February 7, 2010

The heady New Year festivities are usually followed by sombre self-assessment, both at the personal—wilfully—and professional— per force—levels. While most executives view performance appraisal as a necessary evil and approach it with scepticism, the exercise, if handled effectively, can, indeed, produce great results. Here are some key points to consider.

To start with, let self-evaluation remain just that. Avoid comparing yourself with peers. "You will never get a proper perspective of the group that a supervisor has. Peer comparison, thus, is futile, as you miss the chance of becoming self-aware," says Bhaskar Das, Vice President (HR), Cognizant Technology Solutions.

Introspect, instead, on where you feel you ought to go, he suggests. Self-evaluation challenges you. It makes you self-aware—you willingly accept ownership of what you are and what you have done—and this reflects maturity. Maturity and integrity ultimately pay.

Stay objectively tuned to the company metrics of measuring achievement. Give importance to the whole rather than focussing on one aspect. Example: If, in a sales role, there are three heads—strategy, penetration and collection— review all three in equal measure.

Finally, the organisational mission and vision should be completely aligned with your personal mission and goals. Everyone should have a personal mission and vision (goal in life) to be truly motivated, insists Shekar Arora, HR Head at Ashok Leyland.

Self-evaluation has implications much beyond your current job, next pay hike or promotion. Constantly check the environment you operate in. Sometimes, external actions could necessitate change of goals or even careers—and one must be alert to such opportunities. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who started out as an advocate, changed his role midway and donned the role of a politician and freedom fighter. If he hadn’t spotted the opportunity and continued as a lawyer, it is unlikely that he would have reached the pinnacle of greatness that he eventually did. Self-evaluation made him what he truly was.


The dos and don'ts

  • Focus on yourself and avoid peer comparison.
  • Have a personal mission and vision-self-evaluation can never be complete if you think only of organisational goals.
  • At the same time, stay tuned to the company's metrics of measurement.
  • Your boss is as anxious to see a positive outcome as you are, but exaggerated claims are seen as an act of immaturity.
  • Bring out your limitations and the plan to tackle them. It is a clear sign of integrity and actually pays.

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