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Performance reviews can stir a mixed amount of emotions among professionals. For some, it's an exciting time to discuss accomplishments and get patted on the back. For others, it's a nerve-wracking time where shortcomings are discussed, and some employees question their abilities.

It's important, however, to keep emotions in check. Performance reviews are an opportunity to grow as an employee and should be embraced. Here are some tips for preparing and executing a successful performance review.

Preparing For A Performance Review

Young businesswoman prepares for her first performance review.

From Day 1 on the job, you should create a plan for how you plan to grow, what you want to accomplish, and what value you want to provide the company. Some people use the 30-60-90 day plan they prepared in the interview process to guide them, if they used one.

Once you prepare a plan, keep a journal or some type of tracking system to keep track of what you've learned, your goals, and your accomplishments and weaknesses.

Tracking weaknesses is just as important as accomplishments. Being self-aware is a great trait to have and, by being aware of your weaknesses, you can prepare a plan for addressing them and eventually turn them into strengths.

This type of performance tracking should always be done. While this information certainly comes in handy during performance reviews, it's always beneficial to take a personal accounting of performance. It helps to make you a better employee and helps with creating and adjusting career goals.

Going Through A Performance Review

Young businessman listens as his supervisor gives a performance review.

Once again, it's important to not get too high or low emotionally. The performance review is a time for listening. Most review processes allow time for employees to comment, so don't interrupt your supervisor when they're giving the review.

When it's your time to speak, be humble about any praise and don't be angry about any negative feedback. If you did get negative feedback during the review, it's OK to ask follow-up questions about that feedback to better understand where you need to improve -- just don't argue with your supervisor or make excuses.

Negative feedback isn't the worst thing in the world. Having a handle on both strengths and weaknesses ultimately makes for a well-balanced employee.

Take advantage of this time with your supervisor to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. This is a great time to put together a plan to build on those strengths and identify areas where you can grow with the company and problems that you can help the company solve.

More importantly, you can have an honest and open conversation with the boss about your weaknesses and put together a plan of improvement.

What To Do After A Performance Review

Young businesswoman reviews her performance review.

You are now loaded with information! There are goals to achieve and things that are in need of improvement. It may all be a little overwhelming initially. Take a breath, sit back, and realize that everything doesn't have to be accomplished at once. You can chip away at these goals.

The most important thing moving forward is continuing to make an effort to track your own job performance. Reviews happen sporadically, based on company policies, but you should always hold yourself accountable.

You'll find as you track your performance, goals will change, and sometimes new weaknesses and strengths will emerge. This is normal as job responsibilities change. That's why it's important to always remain on top of your job performance, even when you're not going through a performance review.

One last thing about the performance review; just because you received a good performance review doesn't mean you automatically qualify for a raise. Company policies about raises vary and you'll want to be familiar with your company's policy or ask for clarification about it. In some cases, conversations about salary are entirely separate.

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