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Give Yourself An Annual Review

Posted by Peter Post  January 3, 2013 07:00 AM

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It’s the first weekend of the new year, a time for resolutions and self-assessment. Businesses often use this time to do annual reviews. Perhaps this would be a good time to do a quick annual review on yourself.

You can break your review down into three components: actions, appearance and words. Be honest as you consider each component, and ask yourself if you’ve let your professional standards slide during the past year. This week we’ll take a look at how our actions affect how others see us. In the next two weeks, we’ll continue the self-review focusing on appearance and the words we use.

Certainly, think about those big things you do that affect the people around you. Recently, I heard from a reader who was so frustrated because a couple of his colleagues were blatantly surfing the Internet for personal purposes. Not only was productivity being hurt, but so, too, was the image of their department.

Subtle actions can be harmful, too. Do you find yourself interrupting others, not introducing a colleague or discounting a colleague’s idea in front of others? These actions can be deal breakers—actions that aren’t easily forgotten or forgiven.

On another often frustrating note, are you in control of your smart phone or is it in control of you? In spite of the fact that you know you shouldn’t answer it, text on it, or review an email while you are meeting with someone, do you find yourself doing exactly that and asking the person you are with to excuse you? Once in a blue moon, it may be okay, but if it’s becoming a habit, this would be a good time to resolve to change.

How’s your email etiquette? Are you following the who, what, when, where, and how rule, or do you devolve into the why and opinion in your emails? Do you find yourself sending an email instead of getting up out of your chair and visiting a colleague? Do you automatically hit the “reply all” button, or, when it’s appropriate, reply just to the sender?

Where’s your focus? I know I sometimes play with my phone while I’m in a meeting or maybe deconstruct a paper clip. I know I’m listening and engaged, but what kind of an image do these actions create for others in the meeting?

Do you do your share? When the photocopier runs out of paper, do you take a moment to fill it? If you find someone else’s papers in the photocopier, do you take a moment to deliver them or do you leave them there? Same rules apply in the kitchen: Do you take care of your own dishes right away, as well as the random glass or two you find left in the sink?

Your actions affect other people’s opinion of you. As you do your self-review, identify actions you could improve, even just incrementally. That’s the first step to building better, stronger, more positive relationships in 2013.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.

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Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.

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