Performance reviews have been, for me, one of the most awkward and stressful times of year. Not because I have performed badly or because of the stresses of salary discussions, it is simply that I have to write candidly and honestly about my own performance over the past year. I have overcome this in years past by compiling a cheat sheet of generic sentences and terms to help describe accomplishments or attributes for myself or other members of my team. I still feel the whole process is a little narcissistic but there is a very real cost associated with how well you present yourself and others during this annual chat.

Of course the review process tends to change with employers and therefore I need to constantly update the approach in order to stay relevant. So I wanted to add a couple of more examples and phrases that I know will be useful in the future. Most of the following phrases were introduced by a previous manager through a Strength Finders exercise.


  • You possess the physical and mental endurance needed to spend hours studying, reading, or researching.
  • Your diligence reflects your need to work harder and longer than most people can.
  • You set lofty goals for yourself and relentlessly pursue them.
  • Driven by your talents, you usually equate education, formal and informal, with understanding more about something today than you understood about it yesterday.
  • You might learn best by teaching; if so, seek out opportunities to present to others.
  • Your willingness to soak up new ideas can help help others who are intimidated by new rules. This ultimately will calm fears and spur others to action.
  • You are not threatened by unfamiliar information, you might excel in a consulting role (either internal or external) in which you are paid to go into new situations and pick up new competencies or languages quickly.
  • Look for ways to measure the degree to which you and others feel that your learning needs are being met, to create individualized learning milestones, and to reward achievements in learning.
  • Allow yourself to "follow the trail" by scheduling learning sessions during periods of time that will not be interrupted by pressing engagements.


  • You have a great deal of stamina and work hard. Takes great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
  • Driven by your talents, you ordinarily take time and exert extra effort to comprehend what you are reading.
  • Taking shortcuts strikes you as unprincipled, thoughtless, and careless.
  • You conduct yourself in a proper, ethical, legal, and upright manner to avoid feeling you have done something wrong.
  • Instinctively, you routinely contrive innovative ideas. The art of invention stimulates your mind. You likely spring from one original thought to an entirely different one.
    You usually find unique ways to link two or more concepts.
  • By nature, you devote your full attention to immediate tasks and challenges.
  • Diligence, persistence, and concentration are three of your distinguishing traits.
  • Attach timelines and measurement to goals so that effort leads to defined progress and tangible outcomes.
  • Continue your education by attaining certifications in your area or specialty in addition to attending conferences and other programs. This will give you even more goals to achieve and will push your existing boundaries of accomplishment.
  • You do not require much motivation from others. Take advantage of your self-motivation by setting challenging goals. Set a more demanding goal every time you finish a project.
  • Make sure that in your eagerness to do more at work, you do not skimp on quality. Create measurable outcome standards to guarantee that increased productivity is matched by enhanced quality.


  • People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
  • By nature, you experience pangs of remorse when you realize you failed to do something you promised to do.
    It’s very likely that you are comfortable being open and honest about who you are. Often you intentionally avoid people who are less than truthful.
  • You prefer to spend time with individuals who speak as candidly as you do about their strengths, shortcomings, hopes, disappointments, failures, or successes.
  • Driven by your talents, you are determined to be victorious. As much as you yearn to be "number one," you know cheating is unacceptable.
    Instinctively, you yearn to be given additional duties. You expect to be held accountable for your productivity, profit, behavior, comments, and actions.
  • Align yourself with others who share your sense of responsibility. You will flourish when working with people who share your determination to get things done.
  • You are instinctively responsible and so it might sometimes be difficult to refuse opportunities. For this reason, you must be selective. Ask for more responsibility in only the areas that matter most to you.
  • You naturally take ownership of every project you are involved in. Make sure that your capacity to own does not keep you from sharing responsibility.
  • Allow others the opportunity to experience the challenges of ownership. In doing so, you will contribute to their growth and development.
  • Learn to manage your Responsibility talents by considering whether you really are the person who should be handling a particular issue.
  • Defer to your existing responsibilities and goals before undertaking additional burdens, as you may end up skimping on quality if you have too many tasks or competing demands.
  • Partner with someone especially talented in Discipline or Focus. This person can help you stay on track and prevent you from becoming overloaded.


  • People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.
  • Instinctively, you enjoy reading, but you refrain from accepting information on its face value, that is, its seeming worth or truth. Typically you examine ideas, suggestions, or facts from a variety of angles.
  • Chances are good that you might make great strides mentally when you have opportunities to exchange ideas, theories, or concepts with people whose thinking stimulates your own.
  • You may delight in accumulating unusual insights. You are eager to test them during conversations with other intelligent individuals.
  • By nature, you enjoy reading as long as you can savor each sentence and consider each idea.
  • Because of your strengths, you enjoy the act of reading. You value the information you acquire in the process.
  • Consider beginning or continuing your studies in philosophy, literature, or psychology. You will always enjoy subjects that stimulate your thinking. List your ideas in a log or diary.
  • Deliberately build relationships with people you consider to be "big thinkers." Their example will inspire you to focus your own thinking.
    You are at your best when you have the time to follow an intellectual trail and see where it leads. Get involved on the front end of projects and initiatives, rather than jumping in at the execution stage.
  • Engaging people in intellectual and philosophical debate is one way that you make sense of things. This is not the case for everyone.
  • Be sure to channel your provocative questions to those who similarly enjoy the give and take of debate.
  • Find people who like to talk about the same issues you do. Organize a discussion group that addresses your subjects of interest.
  • Encourage people around you to use their full intellectual capital by reframing questions for them and by engaging them in dialogue. At the same time, realize that there will be some who find this intimidating and who need time to reflect before being put on the spot.

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