Thursday, February 16, 2012

Great Expectations

At the end of every year, I am required to submit a self-evaluation at work. Here I must rate my effort and progress regarding each of the primary assignments that I was given at the start of the year. After I have completed giving myself a score on a scale from 1 to 5 for the 6 or 8 areas for which I was responsible, my supervisor completes his review of my work in these same areas. For the most part, over the years, our overall scores have been pretty much in tune.

However, several years ago when I was going through this annual exercise, I gave myself top marks, a 5, for one item. 5 means extraordinary, well above expectations. For the same item, my supervisor gave me a 3. While this category is listed as "met expectations", it really means that you did not measure up. Most would recognize this mark as a "poor". It represents a failure of sorts.

I talked to my supervisor to seek out some clarification, especially as I considered my work quite above par. It turns out that there was a communication problem between us and he thought that I should be taking a leadership position, while I thought I was just to play an advisory role. I asked him, "If you thought I was not doing what you wanted, why didn't you come to me straight away and talk to me." He paused and said, "I'm not sure." I think the lesson is that communication is a key in so many areas of our lives. Sometimes when someone is not measuring up to what you had expected, whether it is in the workplace, between husband and wife, amongst friends, or in raising your children, it could be that you have not effectively communicated. A simple conversation in respect and honesty, can oftentimes avoid unexpected and unwelcome outcomes down the road.