Any leader worth his salt knows self-evaluation is necessary for professional growth. Here’s how to make it truly useful. By Satyaki Sarkar
1. Consider several viewpoints
The first step in self evaluation is to ask yourself what you should do, what others think you do, and what you should be doing, and write it all down. When you think about your various responsibilities and others’ perceptions of how you have been carrying them out, you will be able to evaluate how well you’ve been handling them. The key lies in writing these observations down, so that you have a starting point and a way to form an objective, third person view of yourself to discover which aspects require work and where you have exceeded expectations.
2. Ask yourself if you are meeting your team’s expectations
For a leader, one of the most important yardsticks is measuring how good a leader you are to your team. So ask yourself, have you been able to live up to their expectations? A team’s expectations aren’t only restricted to the work that they do, but also involve the work that you do, how well you handle critical, stressful situations, the kind of bond you are able to generate with team members, and how best you can motivate them to keep excelling at their work. It helps to make a checklist of these various expectations and evaluate yourself on those parameters. This not only helps you become a better leader but also helps you gain their respect and admiration in the process.
3. Identify your pain points and discuss them with employees
While self-evaluation does help you discover your strengths and unique skills, it’s also important to concentrate on your pain points and shortcomings. These could be holding you back or hampering yours as well as your team’s productivity. So evaluate which ones directly affect the team and have an open discussion with team members so as to how you can best work together to mitigate those problems and drive up the collective efficiency. This helps improve transparency and creates a healthy synergy between you and your team, which further opens up a way to mutual self-improvement. Additionally, a leader who is willing and able to accept his/her shortcomings and work on them immediately rises up in the eyes of employees.
4. Use quantifiable units to evaluate yourself
While evaluating yourself, you should always try to be as accurate and precise as possible. Hence, simply judging yourself on the basis of good or bad does not work. You need to create a varied set of parameters on which you evaluate yourself, and use a simple but quantifiable way of measuring your progress on those parameters. Leaders can use a 1-10 evaluation method, which they can update every week, taking into account the progress made, the shortcomings that still remain, and feedback regarding the same. This gives you a target to aim for rather than a vague measurement that isn’t backed up by results, or compared with past or existing results.
5. Consider the end goal and the day’s work
Last but not the least, one of the best methods of self evaluation that some of the greatest leaders use is asking yourself this one simple question, at the end of every day—“Am I doing the best that I can?” This simple question is not meant to be a support that you lean on to justify yourself, but rather a way of comparing the effort you are putting in, your achievements against the end goal that you have set yourself. When you take a look at the big picture, be it launching an organisation of your own, or transitioning to a higher position/role, you are able to objectively gauge the boxes you need to tick in order to get there and judge whether you are doing all that you can and should do to reach there. This makes you answerable to yourself and gives you added motivation, along with a very real, pragmatic view of how far you’ve come and how far you have to go before you achieve your goal.