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Career Advice: How Are You Doing On Your Job?

Ramon Greenwood -- How are you doing on your career path? Far too many individuals have to reply: "I don't really know; okay I guess."

Career success requires answers.

Answers are not available when employers don't have feedback systems; many who do, don't use them effectively. The result: a huge problem for employers as well as employees.

Common sense says every organization ought to have in place an organized system for evaluating employees and letting them know where they stand on their career path.

How can people build their strengths and correct their shortcomings if they don't know what they are? How can they do their best work if they don't understand what is expected of them?

Five career tips for effective feedback

An effective feedback system includes these five points: 1. The manager and the employee discuss and agree on specific duties and expectations (i.e., goals).

2. Both parties agree on how achievements will be measured and rewarded. This step includes an understanding as to when and how the measurements will be taken.

3.The manager provides mid-course checkups and corrections on a regular basis.

4. At the end of a predetermined period, performance is appraised against the agreed-upon standards of measurements. Both positive and negative results are discussed candidly.

5. Career rewards are given according to achievements of agreed upon goals. If there are problems with performance, the employee should be advised of improvements that must be made, within a given time frame, along with an explanation of what will happen if corrections are not made.

Put the results of this five-step process in writing.

Career tip: Performance feedback is not an easy process

There is nothing easy about this process. However, if executed properly, it doesn't have to be painful. In fact, it can be a time of renewal and improvement.

This all makes common sense, doesn't it?

Then, why don't more companies have evaluation systems in place? Why don't those who have them do a better job executing them?

First, strange as it may seem, managers often don't have a clear enough picture of their employees' duties, or how they will be gauged, to put them in writing.

Frequently, managers don't take the time to evaluate their employees and help them when they drift off course. Instead. They wait until it is crisis time.

Career tip: Praise and constructive criticism

An effective system for evaluating performance includes both praise and constructive criticism presented in an even-handed manner.

Achievements should be rewarded according to set standards. However, it is a mistake to reward incompetence. When employees receive awards, even after failing to reach their goals, the system begins to fall apart and failure becomes acceptable.

If an employee is fouling up, he should be told. It is unfair and unwise for the manager to ignore the small mistakes until a major one occurs and a major confrontation takes place.

Career tip: Ask for regular appraisals

What should you do if your employer doesn't have a stated evaluation system or has one and lets it languish?

Screw up your courage and act.

If you are in a position to do so, take a lead in instituting an appraisal system. If you can't do that, at least suggest to your boss that the organization would be better off if it had a system for evaluating and rewarding all of its employees.

Even if there's not a system for all employees, ask your boss for an individual performance appraisal... pluses and minuses.

Tell the boss you want to learn and grow. Explain that the only way you can advance toward your career goals is to know what you are doing right and wrong and receive career coaching accordingly.

If your boss has his wits about him and is at all interested in his own career, he will recognize that you are exhibiting strength and ambition, not weakness, when you speak up on this vital issue. He will appreciate that you are trying to learn more, do more, and earn more.

For free career coaching click here You'll receive The Career Accelerator, Ramon Greenwood's semi-monthly newsletter. You can also visit his Your Blog For Career Advice via this route. Greenwood' coaches from a world of experience, including serving as Senior Vice President of American Express, an entrepreneur, professional director, career coach, and author.

© 2008 Ramon Greenwood

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