Your end of year review is where you and your leader can gather together and review your past professional year- the highs and the lows- and collaborate on what you need to accomplish in the upcoming year. By coming to your review with your own perspective (and documentation) on how you performed throughout the year, you show initiative and preparedness and can fully engage in a valuable discussion with your manager on the past year and what you both can expect for the next year.
Before heading into the meeting, review your personal development and goals plan from the past year and add in any supporting documents/proof that shows how you met, and hopefully exceeded, the goals and milestones laid out for you. While you should be periodically adding in this information (such as copies of feedback/praise, status updates, and final project copies, as needed) throughout the year, gathering what you can to fill in the gaps before the meeting provides concrete proof of what you’ve done with your career and for the company.
When reviewing your plan, there may be pieces that you didn’t quite achieve and may no longer see the value in continuing forward with into the new year. In those instances, writing out an explanation of what occurred (not a list of excuses) and advising your manager on the reasons why carrying this goal/milestone over into the new year is not of value to your growth, helps gain some buy-in from your leader and gives you more control over your career plan for the next year.
Additionally, have a high-level plan for change and improvement for the next year for key items that you didn’t quite hit the mark on that you know you can’t drop from your radar on New Year’s Day. While your manager may have a different idea on what you need to work on and how to improve, coming to the table with a general idea that you both can work from helps guide the discussion and may result in you having more say in the matter when your next year’s personal development plan is developed.
Overall, coming prepared with information on what you did and didn’t achieve the past year curates a two-sided conversation with your leader on how your year went, instead of you sitting in a room with your boss being told their (and sometimes others) perspective on your performance without you having much say in the matter. While preparing documentation and your own analysis on your performance is important to ensuring you are prepped for your review, preparing your emotions and mind for the feedback (opinion and otherwise) you will receive is just as important to ensure you don’t walk out of the meeting considering a new job or trash talking your manager out of anger.