Recently, everyone in my company has been required to do their annual self-appraisals for the upcoming performance reviews. And as I struggled to write my own, this got me to wondering...
How can an employee possibly complete this task well? It seems like a horrible Catch-22. I think the natural inclination is to say what a great, valuable employee you've been. But if you actually do this, here are a couple things which I imagine are the thought-responses from the boss's perspective:
- "Man, this guy is pretentious."
- "Oh, look, another employee saying how great he is and trying to get a raise this year."
The alternative to this seems to be something along the lines of "be humble." But the last thing an employee actually wants to put in the self-appraisal is "Well, I've done okay this year, but, you know, I've made some mistakes, too, so..." Of course you don't want to make yourself look bad or hurt your chances of a raise/promotion/good standing with the higher-ups.
So in short, if the employee says he's great, he comes off as arrogant and pretentious, while if he says he's "okay" or "average" in an attempt at humility, he comes off as... well... average. So how can an employee possibly go through this process "correctly"?
(Addendum: All this assumes the employee actually is a good employee. If he's a bad employee, then this is an entirely different discussion.)