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Now is the time for mid year appraisals. That time of the year when your salary must justify the judgement someone gets to pass on you and your skills. My idea of a good appraisal is when you can anticipate correctly what’s coming your way- good or bad. Whatever feedback that comes your way must not be a surprise. This can happen when you’ve taken feedback at regular intervals and can read the signals given by the reporting manager accurately. 

Of course, this feedback should be taken with a handful of salt. There are certain skills that everyone can be better at but at the end of the day, the corporate wants robots. Everyone evaluates everyone else against themselves. Every manager wants their reportees to be like them. “I am people friendly and have lots of informal, after work interactions”. So should you. “I treat people like pawns”. So should you. Etc etc etc. 

It’s a tricky balance. You have to show you have worked on the feedback without actually turning into the reporting manager. The higher you go, the tougher it is to say No. Being upfront about your views is actively discouraged at the top. And yet, I have worked with managers who are upfront and yet successful. Their rare breed does exist. You would expect that your power to say No increases as you move closer to the top. But it is the opposite in reality. And if you are a person who can cut through the bullshit easily and are upfront, you already know expecting you to be politically correct will be the first topic on the feedback list. 

Key takeaway – pretend to change while not actually changing. Have at least 1 person who you trust, preferably someone senior, and take their feedback and work on their advice.