Every manager not only has to evaluate employees, but evaluate him or herself. Self-evaluations can be difficult, exhausting, and downright annoying, because they force us to look honestly at our strengths and flaws. In addition to the stress that completing them causes, self-evaluations can feature inflated opinions or biased information.

Self-evaluations are vital to a successful annual performance review process. Identifying your areas of strength and weakness helps create a realistic performance appraisal to help develop your career advancement.

When it’s Time to Conduct a Self-Evaluation

Your company may require routine self-evaluations once or twice a year, but you may want to conduct informal evaluations more often so that you can better lead your employee team. You may want to consider giving yourself a self-evaluation if your team stops meeting goals, you feel like you’ve lost focus, or you need to conduct employee evaluations. Recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses can help you identify areas that need changing and may provide insight into certain employee behaviors. In other words, a performance review of yourself isn’t reserved just for annual performance evaluations. You can assess where you are right now, identify constructive feedback, and take steps to improve team or your own performance.

How to Conduct Your Own Self-Evaluation Effectively

Self-evaluations can help managers become better evaluators and leaders over time. But it’s difficult to look at yourself in a truly objective light. Some people tend to look at their actions in a more positive light while others fall into a category of self-deprecation, and neither is truly beneficial in the workplace. Fortunately, a good self-appraisal will give you insight into how challenging it can be for your direct reports to perform their own employee self-evaluation. Here are some ways you can keep your individual evaluations as helpful as possible:

1. Ask your employees or peers for feedback

Since humans are not great at self-evaluations, consider asking your team for their interpretation of your performance. Students evaluate their teachers, and the practice is also common in other industries. If you’re not managing them effectively, their feedback is the only way to recognize pathways for change. It doesn’t have to be a formal evaluation. Simply ask your team for feedback about your performance over a period of time and if they have any suggestions for improvement.

Be careful with how you gather the feedback. It can be easy to fall into the trap of playing favorites and only seeking feedback from members of your team who consistently provide positive comments. Make sure you’re receiving feedback from multiple team members and listening to the critiques.

2. Create a well-rounded performance evaluation

The self-evaluation is a crucial function of performance management for determining if you’re heading in the right direction. It can be a tool of continuous improvement, but in the context of the annual performance review, the self assessment helps balance out the feedback you receive in your performance evaluation.

3. Keep a regular log of your activities

Write down your accomplishments and keep them in a file. A self-evaluation is a time for you to showcase the things you’ve done well. Try to associate a value with each accomplishment that you’ve achieved. Executives want to see the effects of the work you’ve been doing over the time period.

Keeping a log also helps identify things not in your job description, not to toot your own horn, but to highlight different areas with specific examples of how you’ve gone “above and beyond.” Sometimes, when you look back at the past year, you’ll see how the things you’re doing not only meet career goals but also just how much time you’ve spent towards your SMART goals. A log can help you perform an effective self-evaluation.

The log is also a good idea for times other than the annual review. It can be an important tool for career development. It’s not just a list of your accomplishments or your best strengths, but instead, a tool to identify the milestones over the past year to help your personal performance development planning.

4. Include some areas for improvement

Review givers often have to find the right way to communicate criticism to employees, and those who conduct self-evaluations also have to word their own self-criticism carefully. Acknowledge areas for improvement, but always frame the information in a positive light, and offer the solutions you have come up with for improvement in the future.

This is a great way you can focus on your professional development and what’s changed since your last review. Discuss your personal goals, where you missed in the previous year, areas of improvement, new skills you want to learn, and the best approach for the coming year. When you write down important goals, you’re more likely to achieve them. You can also list your team’s goals as your focus on them make you a good manager.

5. Do discuss your career plans and job wants/needs

A self-evaluation is also a forum for employees to ask for what they need. In addition to outlining your performance, subtly talk about advancement by highlighting what you find most rewarding and what you would like to accomplish in the company in the next year or two.

Take the time to write well-thought out and comprehensive self-evaluations throughout the year. Each version will help you improve your ability to evaluate yourself in the future. Are you searching for just the right phrases for your self-evaluation? The Self-Evaluation ebook contains 450 self evaluation paragraphs you can use right now for your performance appraisal. Save hours writing your self-evaluation and advance your career with the self-evaluation ebook.