You expect the first bucket. Your boss hands you a second or third bucket rating. You are angry, confused, frustrated- and other words that are too colorful to be posted here.
How should you handle this situation?
Well, I have a hack for you. We’ll cheat a little – but it will work. I hacked it up many, many years ago, when I faced a similar dilemma. And it subsequently earned me a series of top ratings and indeed changed the way I look at the world.
Ready? Let’s proceed.
Let’s agree on one thing. You aren’t unhappy with the rating. You are upset because Mr.X, who you believe deserves an abysmal rating, has been rated above you. Your anger stems from comparison. And bell curves are models of comparison.
This insight helps us with our hack. Close your eyes and imagine you are working in a group with the person you most admire. Pick a leader you look up to in your organization. Or choose your favorite celebrity leader (e.g., Seth Godin for Marketing, Elon for Product builds, Arianna Huffington for Leader roles). Ask yourself:
“What rating would I be comfortable with if this leader was evaluated alongside me?”
Chances are you would be comfortable with a rating 2 or 3 bands lower than this person. Suddenly you don’t feel so bad.
But this is just part I. If you stop here, you’ll probably face the same problem the next year – and at that time, you won’t be able to trick your mind into accepting this hack again.
So let’s move on to part II.
You study this person’s skills and attitude in detail and start imbibing the learnings into your work routine. Your goal is to raise yourself as much as possible to their level in a year. Read books about them, follow their social handles, watch them on YouTube, speak to them in person if they are a leader you can reach. Learn from them and put your learnings into action.
Give yourself a year, and I am sure Bossman/ Bosswoman will hold you as a role model. Even better – you have just developed what Charles DuHigg calls keystone habits. These habits will have positive ripple effects on your entire life – not only help with the rating.
Try it. You can thank me later!