Situation 38: Annual Achievement review

It is time For Femsy’s annual performance review. Boss schedules a one-hour meeting to discuss performance. Femsy believes she had a very good year with significant achievements. She is not convinced that Boss is fully aware of all her accomplishments. Femsy believes she deserves a pay raise. She hopes Boss will bring this up.

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A great leader:

  • Has self-confidence, knows her worth and how much value she adds to the organization;
  • Keeps her line manager and other key stakeholders informed of her accomplishments and progress on key initiatives throughout the year;
  • Is well-informed about the organization and market value for people doing comparable work with similar levels of education and experience;
  • Is assertive in her dealings with others.

How to best handle the situation:

If you have not had ongoing discussions about performance during the year it is important to prepare well for this annual discussion. Gather data and examples of your work that illustrate the outcomes you have accomplished during the year. Be objective and honest about the areas where your performance was not up to par and detail the reasons for this.

Look at your performance from your line manager’s perspective; what was he/she expecting? How have you met his needs? How do you compare to other people in the organisation/his team? How does he feel about you and your performance – what feedback have you received? Use this reflection to anticipate the conversation with your line manager. Which areas will you be aligned on? What are potential areas for disagreement? How will you deal with these dispassionately to influence your line manager?

Be open to having a positive and developmental conversation with your line manager about your performance. Listen carefully to what he/she has to say and try to understand the underlying reasons for this. Give your counterpoints where you disagree and illustrate your argument with examples to show your line manager what you have achieved that he/she has missed.

It is important for you and your line manager to be aligned on how you have performed over the year before taking the next step to ask for a pay rise (or promotion). In fact it may be better to separate the performance discussion from the one about pay since mixing the two into one meeting can result in the wrong focus and the discussion taking a wrong turn so that you end up feeling disappointed or worse.

If your line manager agrees that you have performed well end the meeting there, on a positive note. A few days later schedule another meeting where you take the opportunity to discuss pay. Make sure you are well informed before the meeting with appropriate benchmark data to back up your arguments. Consider what your ‘bottom line’ is, for example, what happens if your line manager says ‘no’, outright? Be assertive when you ask for a raise and cite the reasons why you feel worthy.   Your line manager may be constrained by organisational policies so try to work with him/her to find a solution that is acceptable to you both.

Learning suggestions:

  • Schedule regular 1:1 meetings with your line manager to discuss your work; inform him/her about what you are working on, with whom and progress that you have made to-date.
  • Volunteer to make presentations about your work to a wider audience so that people throughout the organization can learn and benefit from your expertise and experience.
  • Position yourself as an expert by offering advice and support to others in your organization in your field of work.
  • Regularly connect with individuals in other organizations whom perform similar work to you to both glean and exchange ideas and also to understand how others are valued and paid by their organizations.


Ask you line manager what his/her top three priorities are and how they relate to yours. Figure out how you can help him/her achieve these.

 Femcommunity tips:

We welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments on how you would deal with such a situation.

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