November 16, 2022

Leveraging Performance Reviews

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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It’s that time of year again – time for performance reviews. Performance reviews aren’t just a check-the-box activity – you can actually leverage them to get your next promotion, higher visibility projects, and growth opportunity.

This week Melissa is giving you a specific strategy to use to get your management to take action on what you want to achieve next in your career.

What You’ll Learn

How to ask for a promotion or more development opportunities 

The simple question you’re not asking that will guarantee the progress you are looking for

Why performance reviews and self-evaluations are a great time to plant the seed for your next promotion

Featured in This Episode

How to give and receive performance feedback
The perfect 1-1 framework

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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills, and psychology to help you get happy at work and live the life you want. If you want to stop feeling stuck and start feeling better, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence. Let’s get started.

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. This week we are going to talk about something very timely that I know many of you are going through right now, and that is performance reviews. As we get closer to year end, selfevaluations and performance conversations are starting to bubble up. And today I’m going to share with you how you can use your performance review to plant the seeds for your next promotion or big career move. I also want to mention that if you were thinking, okay, I wanted to hear about feedback though, like, are you going to talk about how to give and receive feedback? I do have a separate episode on giving and receiving performance feedback that is really helpful to avoid the common mistakes with delivering feedback and also what to do when you get feedback that you don’t agree with that kind of catches you by surprise and so on. So that episode is from last year, November 2021. I will link to it in the show notes for you so that you can actually listen to this in that one in tandem, if you’d like. Now, today, let’s focus on leveraging your performance review.

It’s always good to engage your management with future career decisions to plant those seeds for your next level. Your manager, like you, is probably very busy with a million things they’re dealing with. So even if they do recognize that you’re amazing, promoting you or thinking about where you could get some more career visibility or growth likely isn’t top of mind. It’s something that’s probably on their todo list. So I suggest having your development be a regular topic in your oneonones and to talk about how to do this. I actually have an episode on that as well, and that is the perfect one on one framework where I break down how to hold a one on one, but also how to use that framework and philosophy to manage up. So I’ll also include a link to that for you if you want to go back and listen. So let’s say you check in on your development here and there in your oneonone. That’s usually how it works. You complete your self evaluation and the high achiever you are. I’m sure you met all of your goals. You probably over delivered above and beyond. And when you’re reviewing your feedback, it’s a great time to plant the seed for what you want next.

If it is something like promotion, if you want to be more visible and get some kind of higher quality or higher quality way to say it, but just more visible projects where you’re going to be exposed to new people, new skills, levels of leadership. If you want to do a stretch assignment and maybe get exposed to something that you’re really interested in now but isn’t necessarily part of your role. And so maybe you want to do a rotation, or you want to allocate 10% of your time to learning about a new area of the business, whatever it is. Here is what you can do when you review your feedback and your boss is confirming how well you’ve done, maybe there are a couple of things that you can improve on. But overall, your performance review is stellar. You’ve delivered on everything. Your self evaluation is great. Your manager is in agreement of what you have there. You can say something like, thank you for that feedback. I’ve been thinking about my development with the company. I really enjoy working here and being on the team, and I’m interested in taking on more responsibility and working toward a promotion.

Are there any gaps you see between where I am now and where I would need to be to earn a promotion now? Here is why this is great. You’re asking this question after you’ve just had your boss either affirm your evaluation or give you positive feedback and seeing everything you’ve contributed to the company and the team. When you’re making the ask, it’s demonstrating your appreciation for the team and showing that you have an open mind and open to a development conversation. You aren’t just saying, I think it’s really clear that I need to be promoted, or Is it time for my promotion yet? Or when do you think I’ll be promoted? When you ask the gap question, it gives your boss the opportunity to reflect, is there a gap between where you are now and that next level? If not, and they say, you know, that is really something that we should look at. I’m not seeing any gaps. Then you can reply by saying, that’s great. What would be the next step to look into that? You want to keep the conversation going toward action. Then when they tell you what that next step would be, say it’s, well, I’d have to talk to our leadership team to see if we have room in the budget for promotion this year.

Then you can say, okay, great. Do you mind if we connect on this at our next oneonone? Or you could say great. You don’t have to use great. I can use that in my examples, but you could great. Do you see any questions that the leadership team may have about me or the justification for this promotion? So that is helping you foreshadow any obstacles and set yourself up for a winning outcome. The goal is to get an action and to have a timeline, not to leave it open with just something like a look into it, because then you might feel uncomfortable bringing it up again, thinking that you don’t want to be pushy, and you don’t want to give your boss the space to do it. You don’t want to do something that’s going to work negatively and hurt your chances of getting the promotion. And your boss might forget because they’re busy as well. Or it might go lower on the priority list, so the best intentions can go awry sometimes. So you want to make sure you have that action and that timeline with every meeting where you’re talking about this so that you’re both really clear on where you are and where you’re going, and there’s nothing left up for interpretation or confusion.

Now, let’s say your boss says, you know, when we look at that next level, there are some things that I think that you would need to work on. Well, how great is that? Then you have that information. You’re not just walking away from the conversation wondering why you’re not getting promoted when you’ve just got this amazing performance review. When you get what you need to improve on, it can help you know exactly what you need to do instead of just guessing or feeling frustrated that you’re not getting promoted or not getting visibility or on those stretch assignments. And then you can have a conversation that’s more meaningful with your management around how you can develop in those areas, like what measurement is your boss looking for to demonstrate that you’ve improved. You can get really clear so that you’re on the same page. Now, if you have development planning in the first quarter, you can talk about putting the criteria for that promotion in your development plan. This will usually help your boss think critically and clearly about what you need to do, and putting it in your plan will also hold them accountable. One thing to note about this when it comes to promotion, I would look ahead of time at what that next level job description looks like.

You want to be clear and not surprised on the qualifications or requirements, so ask HR or get it online. However, you can get access so that you know that information when you go into the conversation so that you are prepared and you kind of know ahead of time where you think your gaps are or if there are no gaps at all. Now, you can use this approach to ask for more opportunities, more projects, higher visibility, a stretch assignment, whatever you want from a development perspective. You can leverage your performance review conversation to plant that seed, get the plan in motion. All right, now that is all for this week’s episode. Have an amazing week and let me know how this works for you. Connect with me on LinkedIn or join my email insiders. You can then reply to me directly if you love my podcast, you’ll love getting my emails. You get added tips and insights, action guides, even free trainings, and the first to know about new things happening in Melissa Lawrence coaching. So you can go to to add your name. I will add that link to the show notes and I will talk.

See you next week.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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