Selfies! It seems like everyone has done at least one in their lives. Why do we take selfies? To capture a moment in time that has meaning to us; a moment that we want to remember, go back to, and relive. These moments are significant enough for us to literally pause whatever we are doing, so we can capture ourselves in the moment. These moments can range from absolutely ridiculous antics, to monumental events like the first ever photo of you holding your newborn baby. Whatever the reason for your selfie, it was a moment demanding documentation.
Selfies are wonderful memory joggers. When coming across one in a photo library, they seem to magically conjure what was happening during that moment. Looking at a selfie can still make us laugh, cry, melt with warmth, jump with joy as if we were still in that moment. They are great for engaging in self-reflection; maybe a selfie has inspired you to do something again, make changes, try something new, or set new personal goals.
One thing about selfie photos, is we have the luxury of making a conscious decision when to take them. Most often they are taken away from work. Has it ever occurred to you to take a selfie in a work meeting? Before or during a presentation? While on a conference call? After a difficult conversation with someone? While creating a cool infographic? After discovering a mistake on your report? These moments, although not typically ones that are at the top of a selfie photo opportunity list, are equally as important when it comes time for self-reflection…in a professional capacity.
For many companies, the end of a calendar year means it’s time for the annual performance reviews, and planning for next year. Many annual performance management processes include a self-assessment. This portion contributes to a comprehensive, engaged annual review discussion, and also provides a foundation for the upcoming year’s performance objectives. The self-assessment is an opportunity for you to reflect upon work activities you’ve been part of, then articulate how your involvement impacted results (both positively and negatively) and why your efforts aligned with company culture, vision, and mission. Self-assessments are also a time to look forward, and identify what you’d like to do more of, change, or start doing in the future.
Do you sometimes struggle to write your self-assessment? Does it seem like a daunting task, riddled with thoughts of “I don’t know what to say, what did I do this year, and how do I think about next year?” Think of this as an opportunity to look back on your year as a collection of “work selfies.” These figurative selfies capture an array of events and activities, from wild successes to moments you’d rather permanently delete. Uncomfortable as it may be, you’ll be giving the less than stellar times as much mindshare as the most successful moments; the best self-assessments offer a well-rounded reflection of the good, bad, and even the ugly.
This is an opportunity for you to tap into your inner leader voice as your guide. How can you objectively and honestly portray yourself? As you lead yourself through this process, come from a place of humility and honesty, while setting a tone for open collaboration. The assessment is meant to be both a demonstration of your ability to self-reflect, and a guide for a highly collaborative, inspired conversation with your supervisor about the coming year’s objectives. As you think about your “work selfies,” consider these tips when writing your assessment:
- What were your successes, and why did you succeed? What tools, resources, skills, capabilities contributed to success?
- Where did you make mistakes; did you overcome them? Why do you think mistakes were made, what ideas do you have to close gaps?
- How did you use your leader voice around others; how did your words and actions demonstrate consistency with the company culture? How did your work contribute to company vision and mission?
- What new skills would you like to gain, and which existing skills do you want to improve? What growth goals do you have for yourself? WHY are these skills and growth goals important to you, and how will they align with company objectives?
Self-reflection of work performance is in itself a skill, and like any skill, it can be honed and improved over time, granted you are putting in the effort. For the coming performance management period, instead of taking an actual selfie, take notes on moments at work that you will want to remember for your next self-assessment. Remember to give equal mindshare to all kinds of moments; good, not so good, first time demonstrating a new skill, and so on. It takes practice to learn the best angle for a selfie photo; over time, it gets easier and faster. Developing the skills to document and then write your self-assessment is no different; practice makes progress!
My wish for all of you, is that all of your future literal and figurative selfies lead you to inspired growth and continued joy.