How to Help Your Team Reflect on Their Accomplishments

Last week we talked about mistakes managers make when delivering performance feedback . So, today let’s flip the conversation around. Let’s talk about how to make these conversations extraordinary. Start by giving your employees a structured way to reflect on their accomplishments. And, prepare them to be a partner in the conversation.

8 Reflection Questions to Help Your Team Reflect on Their Accomplishments

I’m offering eight questions to help your employees reflect on their accomplishments. Every business is different, so pick the ones that are right for your team, and send them out in advance with the expectation that they will come prepared for the conversation. If it’s too late for this year, no worries. Tee this up in your first one-on-one or staff meeting of the year as a structured approach for next year’s review.If they know you’re going to be asking these questions, they may be even more inspired to look for ways to make a more strategic contribution to the business.

1. What are you most proud of?

This is always a good starter question. It’s great to see eyes light up as people share their proudest accomplishments. And the answers may surprise you.

2. How would you describe your contribution in terms of ROI?

Probes: How would you quantify your contribution to the business in terms of business outcomes? What metrics have improved and why? Which KPIs are not where you would have hoped? Why? What behaviors or activities had the biggest impact on these results? What behaviors or activities were a distraction to accomplishing these outcomes?Even “softer” accomplishments can be reported in terms of numbers. For example, instead of saying you conducted leadership training, think in terms of outcomes (e.g two team members were promoted; absenteeism improved 20%, 10% improvement in year-over-year employee engagement results.)

3. Which project was the most impactful to the business?

This is another way to talk about how the work they are doing contributes to strategic business priorities, and recognize the important work they are doing.This works well, even for frontline employees who may not be involved in projects with a capital “P,” to give them an opportunity to talk about ways they have contributed to improving the business. If they don’t have any examples, this is a great opportunity to explore how they might find a more strategic way to contribute next year.

4. How have you grown professionally?

Probes: In what areas have you developed? What new skills did you learn? Which areas of your performance have most improved?

5. Who did you help the most this year and how?

This could be an employee they developed, a peer they’ve cross-trained, or the work they did with a customer or supplier.

6. And, who was most helpful to you and how?

The bonus for you on this one is that you can see which of your team member’s names keep coming up as most helpful, and recognize them for going out of their way to help others.

7. What’s your biggest lesson learned?

What did you learn and how? How will you apply that learning in the future?

8. What got in the way?

Probes: And how can I help?How about you. What would you add? What questions would you offer to prepare your employees to reflect on their accomplishments and have a more meaningful performance conversation?Related: Six Leadership Decision-Making Dilemmas