Performance Reviews

How to write a self-evaluation as an employee: Being critical vs confident

Most people loath filling out self-assessments. Too positive and you risk looking overly confident, too critical and you risk unintentionally directing your reviewers’ focus to your weaknesses. Wondering how to strike the right balance? Consider this when filling out your next self-assessment:


Understand why it’s important


Managers ask employees to fill out self-assessments for one main reason: to get them thinking objectively about their performance development. When filled out objectively, self-assessments give managers deeper insights into obstacles blocking your performance and what your goals are for the future. It also serves as a helpful starting point to discuss your performance during your post review 1-on-1.


For managers, a self assessment can be very useful for comparing your own perceptions about your leadership skills against what your reports think. Maybe you scored yourself high in offering feedback and coaching, but your employees reveal they aren’t getting enough of the development advice they need. Keep in mind that your actions and behaviors can often be perceived differently by others, especially when working in an international environment.


How can you use your self-assessment to your advantage?


Want to know if you’re on the right track to meet your manager’s expectations? Are you having trouble with something? Do you need more clarity in your role? As you fill out your self-assessment you should already start thinking about how or what you would need to improve on each point so you can discuss it with your manager during your 1-on-1. However, be careful not to blame others for any shortcomings in your performance.


If you feel you would have gotten your report done faster if your colleague had provided you with the stats you needed on time, don’t blame them for missing your deadline. Instead think of a constructive way to address the subject. Maybe streamlining communication or taking some basic training courses in statistics will help you in the future.


Evaluating your strengths without sounding overly confident


There’s nothing wrong with discussing the things that went well. In fact, your manager will be looking to your self-assessment to decipher which of your strengths you enjoy using most. Highlight which projects went well, why in particular you enjoyed working on them and what skills you used to successfully complete them. If you mention your desire to continue improving these skills, even better.

Finding areas for improvement


Constantly improving your skills is an important part of your career development. The top managers in your company didn’t start off with the skills they have today, but instead progressively built them up over time. It’s therefore actually a good sign to show that you recognize and want to improve in certain areas. In this way you can signal to your manager what type of coaching or training they should provide in the upcoming months. Help make your manager’s job easier by being open about what you think will take your performance to the next level.


Looking to the future


Remember that you don’t have to be an expert in every skill. Think about where you want to go and what skills you’ll need to get there. Self-assessments often include questions like: What do you enjoy doing most/least? This is your opportunity to let your boss know what you’d like to continue doing. Say for example you’re great at gathering data, but you hate doing it. This is your chance to instead emphasize how much you’d prefer to be on the other side, presenting the data that’s collected. What kind of role would you like to take on in the future? It’s never too early to start carving out your own career path. Be proactive and see where it takes you!

Photo by Jennifer Trovato