How to track your own performance at work
Ever had a boss you could tell that they knew everything about you and cared deeply? You know what you have done in the past, what your current projects are, and what you will be doing next. They care about the details. They communicate that you and your work are important through everything they do.
But what about the other end? Did you ever have a boss who failed to keep track of your performance in the day? This boss is not the one who knows what you’re doing, why, whereabouts, and how it is going. This boss is the one who, by their actions, tells you that neither your work nor you are important.
It doesn’t matter what boss you have. You are responsible for making sure you keep track of your performance. Employees who keep a close eye on their performance every day will not be surprised when it comes to annual and mid-year reviews. Because bosses and coworkers regard employees who pay attention to the details as powerful, they are considered self-starting high performers.
Employees who keep track of their performance keep records that go back many months or years. These records reflect the assignments, performance, responsibilities, as well as projects. They work with a plan, update their timelines and goals regularly. They also take notes at every step. Their mantra is “Let’s write it down”. They keep detailed, organized and accurate notes that they refer to in their subsequent meetings with their boss. They keep so much track of their notes that their bosses often rely more heavily on the written records of their employees than their own.
Employees who don’t keep track of their day are more likely to forget what tasks, responsibilities, and projects they completed yesterday. This is even more than the case for those who did it weeks or months ago. They don’t have a plan or clearly defined goals or timelines. Instead, they work from piles on their desks and floors. They don’t take any notes and if they do they tend to make scrawls that are hard to see later. The “notes” end up in one the piles. They often email, call, or walk back to their bosses to seek clarification on routine assignments. Some assignments slip through the cracks as they are simply forgotten. These employees are often unable to reconcile divergent memories about the past. These employees often encounter unexpected surprises when it comes to their mid-year and final year reviews, as well as the ongoing evaluation of their work product. These employees are often considered low-performing by their bosses or co-workers.
What kind of employee are YOU? Are you a perfectionist? Are you completely out of the loop? You are probably somewhere in the middle, just like most people.
When it comes to tracking their performance, most people keep a log of the things they do. It is simple to track the hours worked if you have a calendar or a timer. It is simple to track correspondence if you have a set of folders that contain all the emails you have sent and received. A computer system might generate certain numbers that relate to your work. If you’re a salesperson, you may have numbers that show the bottom line of sales calls, conversations completed and follow-up materials sent. You might also have sales reports detailing sales dollars received, sales contracts booked, sales reports for a monthly or weekly basis, as well as dollar amounts. You will likely have bottom-line numbers for help desk workers, such as help calls received, logs, and tickets cleared. You can go on and on.
Even though a lot of what they do electronically is recorded, most people don’t keep track of their day-to-day performance in writing. Managers are not the only ones who keep an eye on employee performance. Managers tend to only monitor employee performance when they have the opportunity to observe employees at work; when the employee is presented with their work product; or when there are notable wins or losses. Most bosses don’t keep any records of employee performance, except when required by law. Problem is, the “numbers,” while telling a lot about your day-to-day activities, often don’t tell the whole story.
You will be able to track your performance more accurately, which will give you more power.
- You should seek guidance, direction, training on the job, and coaching.
- Identify your resource requirements and justify your requests.
- Every step of the journey, evaluate your performance against the expectations that you have set with your boss.
- Your boss will be able to keep track of your achievements, identify potential problems and help you solve them as they arise.
- Plan your work and make adjustments on an ongoing basis.
- Set ambitious but meaningful goals and deadlines.
- Take on more and more responsibility.
- Your boss should receive a detailed, regular report on your performance.
- Your boss can help you link high performance to higher rewards
Respect and power will be gained when you are “all about the details” in your work relationships with all your bosses and coworkers. You will be able to take on more responsibility, make better judgement calls and take more action in all you do. Your boss will be able help you set yourself up for success by clarifying your expectations. This will allow you to dramatically increase productivity and decrease error rates, even while taking on more important tasks. You’ll be able see what happened and why, and show that you did your best at every step. You will be able to present your case to the court and receive more generous rewards if you seek additional rewards for exceptional performance.