8 Ways To Get a High-Performance Rating From Your Boss

LAST UPDATE ON June 28, 2023

Why do some individuals get great performance reviews? Is it just random? Did the stars align for them that year? While the sample size sharing today is not very large, the results to be quite compelling.

Dataset of 179 leaders who were given a 360-degree assessment rating on a series of 49 behaviours. On average, each leader was evaluated by 11 others (manager, peers, direct reports, and others). Their manager also gave each person a performance rating, which of the behaviours were most strongly associated with the performance ranking. Eight behaviours were all highly significant. 

1. Trend and Problem Spotter

Even though people find a way around the problems, they resist just fixing what is broken. Everyone gets so caught up in their day-to-day tasks that they fail to notice important things happening right before their eyes. Fixing a problem will help everyone recognise your value. At the same time, another way to add value to your organisation is to notice a new trend. 

2. Norm Challenger

Every organisation engages in some redundant and even borderline wasteful activities, and if you can be the person who asks respectfully, “Why do we do this?” There is a chance that unnecessary activity might not need to be done anymore. Often these “unnecessary” things are reports that are created (which no one reads), processes that take too much time for the value they create or meetings we have for the sake of meeting. Be bold enough to challenge these norms, but wise enough to do it politely and constructively. 

3. The Role Model, not Rebel

Organisations are successful when people collaborate and work well together. Take a minute and think about the behaviours you want your team members to emulate and the ones that you hope others don’t follow.  

4. Popular Cooperator

Set a goal to be more cooperative with others, especially in other parts of the organisation. We all love our independence and our freedom. Take the time to consider how what you are doing will impact others in the organisation, and rather than letting them be surprised, give them a heads-up.  

5. Potential Problem Anticipator

This is an advanced skill that is not difficult to master. People who do this well are always recognised and appreciated. All that is generally required to anticipate problems is when you start a new activity, make an important decision, or institute a new procedure, ask yourself the question, “What could go wrong?” The research is clear that most problems can be anticipated, but most people never take time to ask the question, “What could go wrong?” 

6. A Trusted Advisor

A lack of trust from others can have an extremely negative impact on a person’s performance and effectiveness. When others question your motives or lack faith in your abilities, that can create significant problems. Our research on trust revealed three enabling behaviours that improve trust. The first is improving relationships with others. To put it simply, we trust people that we like. The second is knowledge, judgment, or expertise. We trust people who have correct insights and understanding of problems or solutions. The third is to be more consistent. If you say you are going to do something, then make sure you do it.

7. Salesman Mentality

People don’t want to be told, they want to be sold. They want to be persuaded rather than commanded. Even if you believe you have the authority to tell others what to do, asking others and thanking them is always a better way.

8.Challenge Acceptor

Be willing to take on and do something that is challenging and difficult. We all feel like we are too busy and have too much on our plate to take on another difficult assignment. But when a person signs up to do something difficult, others notice and appreciate the effort.

What is interesting is that people that choose to take on a difficult task are more satisfied with their job and engaged in their work. In addition, taking on a challenging assignment may help you to learn a new skill, which increases your value to the organisation. 


Article adapted from Joseph Folkman (founder of two leadership development firms, Novations and Zenger Folkman)