I was impressed by the points Scot Herrick made in this post on his blog, Cube Rules. He draws attention to some seemingly mundane tasks that might have more weight in how others perceive your job performance than you think. Did you ever imagine that the way you structure your emails to colleagues could take a toll on how management views your performance at review time? Scot did:
"Effective performers use email to show their performance. They are short, to the point, and ask for what is needed up front. Too many of us have yet to learn that long emails, convoluted questions and poor email response times hurt your job performance."
What other things does he find negatively impact performance reviews?
- Submitting status reports with the thought that no one pays attention to them, and focusing more on activities and less on accomplishments
- Not managing meetings properly by being unprepared, off topic, or disrespectful to others' opinions
- Communicating poorly with management, meandering through points and taking forever to address solutions
- Whining about things you can't control, like other department shortcomings (we could all learn a lesson from that one)
- Assuming results count more than perception: "If you can’t show your performance in a status report or don’t do well in meetings, it looks like your job performance sucks."
That last one really stuck out to me because it's so true.
Perception is huge in any job, but it takes some work to figure out what matters to management and what doesn't. Maybe your boss doesn't mind that your emails tend to be long and detailed, but hates the way you CC him on every email you send to your colleagues, especially when he doesn't need to know half of what's going on between you.
What's important to one boss might not matter to the next. Take, for instance, arriving early and leaving late every day: Your efforts could earn brownie points from one manager but go unnoticed by another. Or, one manager might reprimand you for taking an extra 5 minutes for lunch, while others simply won't care as long as you get the job done.
Perception is everything!
What kind of differences in perception have you noticed from one manager to the next? Has someone's misperception of you ever caused problems on the job?
Poll: Why To-Do Lists Will Save Your Job