You Said What?: How To Use Your Performance Evaluation to Develop Your Skills

by Angel McNeil, Contributing Writer


It’s performance review time in someone’s office. You’re either super confident because you know you’re good or petrified as all get out because err, you’ve been slipping.

As the business year cycles on, it is inevitable that you will be called into your boss’s office and given a performance evaluation. Recently, Forbes posted an article on their site about how to turn negative feedback into a positive thing should you receive it from your boss. I agree that negative feedback is a great opportunity to boost your skills and improve your professional brand. Developing and expanding upon your skills is an important part of your professional success plan. Here are four of the best practices Forbes shares, explained my by me just for you.


The first step is figuring out where to start. Whether your evaluation highlighted 1 or 50 things you need to work on you have to decide what your first move will be. Think about what skill is hindering you from job greatness and start there. Or you can take the approach of figuring out what skill you need to develop to propel you forward. Take some time with your evaluation and decide where you will start improving.

Take a Class (or at least read something)

Professional Development doesn’t always mean sitting in the walls of your office building. Look into taking a one-day or ongoing class in an area that you highlighted. Don’t have the time or funds to add a class? At the very least try to read at least 1 professional article a week in your field or one book a month that can help you in your question for learning how to build you skills. There are image_3countless websites and blogs that you can follow to help support your quest for skill building.

Shadow Someone

Are you working on managing your day effectively and your cubical mate is a master at getting everything done before their lunch break? Have you ever thought to shadow them to gain some tips on how you could be more effective? There is often at least one person on our job that has mastered area we are working on. Speak to that person as well as your supervisor about how you can shadow them during the day. Shadowing a member of your team is not only a great way to improve on your skills but also helps build camaraderie that you might need later down the line. On the flip side, reach out to someone who you think could shadow you. Having a shadow for the day can also help you to improve skills that you too might need to work on.

Seek Feedback before Feedback Seeks You

I had a friend who was working to improve her presentation skills. Rather than waiting for her direct supervisor to give her feedback on how she was doing, she proactively reached out to her supervisor for feedback. She would ask for at least 1 thing that went well and 1 thing she needed to improve on. Eventually, her supervisor and colleagues were so impressed by her commitment to improving she was recognized for her efforts and received a glowing review on her next evaluation. Whether you think or not your supervisor is always willing to support you in your quest for growth. When you improve it often means your organization will improve in some way. So next time you are working on a growth area, email or visit your boss face to face and ask them for their honest feedback before they offer it to you.

There are countless ways to develop the skills you need to perform at your preferred or current job. What are some other ways that you have been able to develop skills?

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