It’s Performance Review season at my company again. I’ve always hated performance reviews. Not because the reviews are bad - in fact, I’ve never received a poor review. Something about getting a corporate report card has always bothered me. Of course people need to know how they are doing, how they can improve, and get recognition for their accomplishments. But I stand to reason that most performance reviews, in practice, are pointless.
For years, I have practically received the same evaluation. I am a top-rated employee. I have solid judgment and am known to always get the job done. I am highly respected in the organization. But… (isn’t there always a “but” in performance reviews) I am too tough.
Typical working woman dilemma - be nice and get called “too soft.” Be tough and get named a “bitch.”
I’m proud of the fact that I am tough. I don’t let my project team get away with poor results. I expect them to do their job in the timeframe of the project. I tow the line. I have a no-nonsense approach to managing my projects.
I also motivate people. I reward results. I never take credit for other’s work. I always call out the successes of those on my team. I defend my team and don’t throw people under the bus. I’m never rude. I’m never disrespectful. I don’t swear and I don’t yell.
I’m not afraid to challenge the status quo. But I am no bitch.
In years past, I shouldered the burden of the bitch label. But last year, I challenged my manager’s assessment and eventually left the company when my manager could not produce any concrete examples of being “too tough.” To me, it was apparent that the label would prevent further advancement, even if it was just my manager’s perception.
This year, I do not know what to expect. In a new role and under new management, I am still finding my footing at the new company. I have already made key wins and have earned the respect and trust of my Senior Management. And not once so far have I heard that I am too tough. Who knows? Maybe I’ll grow to love the performance review.