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How to set myself up for a good performance review?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

I have joined this new company for little less than a year. I had interviewed for a different role but due to certain hiring constraints joined in a different team and role. The team I am in is not very technical, there's a lot of process and grind work that's part of the role. It is rather different from what I have been doing which was essentially automation of manual processes and deployment pipelines using tools and coding.

I had one review till now where I got an average rating, to me it seemed sub optimal given I put in a lot of effort to add value to the team. Some of the comments I received included that I should come up with my own ideas (this was with respect to a manual process that I automated which was lying in the backlog for over two years) and also related to some of the choices I made (manager asked if I want project A or B and I said I'm definitely interested in A).

To be honest, I feel my manager is nit picking and he also trivialized my work by making comments like anyone can code, ideas are important, etc even when no one from the team actively owned to execute the ideas.

I feel my manager doesn't particularly like me due to the above behaviors. In this situation how do I set myself up for a good performance review the next time. I would have considered quitting but I like the vibe of the company and some of the other teams are doing phenomenal work. It was hard for me to get in so even if I quit I don't want to quit without trying first.

In most of my previously held roles I became a go to person pretty quickly and got good visibility. How do I do this here?

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(2 comments)
  • 4
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    Coaster @ Meta
    a year ago

    Hi OP, new here so sharing about what works for me.

    1. Understand the performance review process, expectations of you by your manager/company
    2. A rating is a measure of your performance against the company's expectations of what a typical role at your tenure/experience can achieve
      1. If your role is expected to do this job at this level, and you did just that, that could just be meeting expectations.
      2. If what you did exceeds your manager/company's expectations of you, likely you can achieve better ratings
    3. Work backwards => understand what exceeding expectations mean/look like for your job
      1. You can find out this info by asking your manager
      2. Observing what your senior do
      3. Observing what someone who got exceeding expectations did
    4. Execute

    In your case, looks like you were hired for a non-technical role but you are executing technically => this might be a mismatch of expectations/responsibilities between you and your manager. I suspect your manager is not expecting you to spend so much time coding for your non-technical role.

    Then again, clarifying the expectations with your manager is the most direct way of finding out how to exceed it i.e what would exceeds look like?

  • 3
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    Junior Software Engineer at Series B Startup
    10 months ago

    It sounds like you are a huge resource yet to be recognized in your new company, I can imagine the start thus far may be discouraging but maybe I can share an idea to steal attention away from that discouragement from my humble experience:

    • I recently created a Google form with a list of questions to get anonymous peer feedback from my teammates (and a couple of other seniors outside of the team whom I occasionally brush shoulders with).
    • I am still in the middle of receiving responses but I can tell you that I am almost overjoyed I decided to do this. The replies are validating areas I had been curious about myself, revealing areas of improvement I was blind to (sometimes we do not know that our intent is actually not coming through in the way we communicate, especially since everyone receives information differently), and even strengths I was completely unaware of (or just down-playing).
    • My incentive to do this was because we do not have 360 review system at my work and I had been generally interested in how my colleagues viewed me as a teammate.
    • But I think I would do this regardless of where I am now, and I wonder if this might be something that could help you gather honest feedback before performance review season comes along. Personally, I plan to continue doing this every few months or so.

    On another note, I also think that it can be easy to believe that a manager 'trivializes' the work we put in. But I am learning to not focus too much on this and work on building my relationship with my manager by really taking advantage of the 1:1's as Alex & Rahul stress in https://www.jointaro.com/lesson/FEK6JZqW2Jg3rdN9yeGn/masterclass-how-to-have-impactful-1-on-1-meetings/ (and really driving the meetings even if they say they have no feedback and they think I'm doing a 'good job'), mainly because:

    1. We can always change someone's mind about us (...most of the time :))
    2. (From my experience) Managers can speak in a way that describe their team and avoid showing favoritism to a single performer. They want to represent their high-performing team, not that a single contributor is pulling the weight of the team for example.

    These are definitely what I have recognized thus far, but perhaps I would be saying something a little different farther down the road in my career. I think future me would still do the informal peer review form though, and continue practicing the art of diverting-my-attention-to-areas-of-improvement-rather-than-things-that-do-a-great-job-of-discouraging-me; I guess this latter is just a useful life skill to have in any situation haha.