How to identify your areas of improvement at work

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No matter how proficient we may be at our job, we can always find ways to be better.

To do that, we have to first become aware of our strengths and weaknesses. Then, actively work to improve in areas relevant to our job goals.

For managers, that means motivating and coaching your team to collective and individual success during their performance review.

For anyone in the workforce who wants to land their dream job, that means honing in on your talents and building up any blind spots.

A performance review can be a great opportunity to focus on areas of improvement. We've compiled the top 20 areas of growth, along with questions, so you can thrive - and skyrocket your career.

Table of contents
Why is professional growth important?
What are areas for improvement for employees?
What are areas of improvement examples?
How to show examples in your employee performance review
How to improve your professional skills
How do I become aware of my strengths and weaknesses?
How can professional development be supported within a company?
Frequently asked questions

Why is professional growth important?

Professional development is essential to improve and learn new skills. This makes you more likely to succeed and advance in your career. You can support self-development through:

  • Performance coaching
  • Attending training sessions offered inside the company, or
  • Professional growth opportunities outside of the company.

Workers are more likely to be engaged and happy at work when managers push for professional and personal development. Performance evaluations can assist in identifying areas for improvement. This allows for professional growth. Improving professional skills makes people more valuable to the company.

What are areas for improvement for employees?

The common areas of improvement at work are the following:

  • Integrity
  • Initiative
  • Ambition
  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Delegation
  • Communication
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Decision making
  • Goal setting
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Job knowledge
  • Productivity
  • Quality of work
  • Dependability
  • Adaptability
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organization
  • Problem-solving

What are areas of improvement examples?

Your manager is likely to provide one-on-one performance reviews to support your growth and evaluate your work contributions - while also sharing opportunities for improvement. With a little bit of preparation, you can use this as an opportunity to highlight your skills and the value you bring to the organization. Let's look at some common areas of improvement so you can walk into your performance review with confidence.

1. Integrity

Integrity involves being honest and upholding strong ethics and morals. It’s an essential component of building trust. Without integrity, even the most capable and talented employee will have limited success.

Some questions to ask:

  • What actions show you have a clear understanding of right and wrong?
  • Do you always tell the truth?
  • Do you avoid conflicts of interest?
  • Do you uphold the company’s values?
  • Do you follow through on commitments?
  • Do you give credit where credit is due?
quote from zig ziglar that shows integrity is in your attitude

2. Initiative

Initiative refers to a person’s ability to take action autonomously. A person with initiative steps forward to get the job done, even when no one asks them to.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • When you spot a problem to solve or a task that needs to be done, do you take action independently?
  • Do you ask others to do something before volunteering to do it yourself?
  • Do you have confidence in your ability to complete the task, or are you uneasy?
  • Do you appreciate constructive feedback?

3. Ambition

Ambitious workers show that they have drive. They want to improve themselves and help the company do well. An employee with ambition aspires to be better than they are now. They seek career growth and often have a personal development plan.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you have aspirations to go beyond your current role, or are you coasting by?
  • Do you seek out new opportunities and learning experiences?
  • Do you ask for regular feedback from colleagues?
  • Do you ask for more challenging tasks and projects?
  • Do you go above the bare minimum?
a person with ambition celebrating an achievement

4. Time management

Time management involves organizational skills to make the most of your time at work. This can be achieved by planning tasks, setting priorities, and setting goals. Effective time management requires applying certain principles and tactics. Something as simple as scheduling software for time tracking can ensure achievable goals are met. These concepts and approaches can assist individuals in developing time management skills.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you set realistic deadlines?
  • Can you stick to a schedule?
  • Do you plan out your day?
  • Do you prioritize your tasks effectively?
  • Do you know when to stop working on a project, or do you keep going at the expense of other priorities?

5. Leadership

Contrary to popular belief, leadership isn’t just for senior management and executives. Every team member should work on their ability to lead and influence others. Developing leadership skills can lead to career advancement and success in any organization.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you set a good example for your coworkers?
  • Do you show initiative?
  • Are you transparent about your processes and decisions?
  • Do you invest time in helping and mentoring others?
  • Do you have a clear idea of your career journey?
a leader showing their team their areas of improvement

6. Delegation

Delegation refers to assigning tasks to someone else. Especially if the other person is better suited for the task. Strong communication skills are important when delegating work. Make sure that tasks are clear, done right, and done quickly. Delegating also helps a team build trust and demonstrates teamwork skills.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you ask for help when you’re overwhelmed, or do you try to do everything on your own?
  • Do you assign tasks appropriately to others who are better suited for them?
  • Do you explain tasks thoroughly and in an easy-to-understand manner?
  • Do you delegate tasks effectively, or do you tend to micromanage?
  • Do you follow up with those you've given tasks to and see how things are going?

7. Communication skills

Effective communication is a highly sought-after skill. It’s crucial to evaluate how you relay and receive information at work. There are a variety of communication tools that can enhance an employee's skills in this area.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you listen well to others?
  • Do you seek first to understand?
  • Do you speak openly about your needs?
  • Do you address issues and conflicts promptly?
  • Do you have effective writing and speaking skills?
  • Do you value interpersonal communication?
a woman showing high interpersonal communication skills

8. Teamwork skills and collaboration

Your company hires many people, each with a key skill set and role. However, for the company as a whole to succeed, each employee must work together. Every employee must have excellent communication skills and emotional intelligence to get the best result possible.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you cooperate with team members?
  • Do you seek out coworkers for their expertise?
  • Do you try to build relationships with team members, or do you always keep to yourself?
  • Do you go out of your way to include all relevant parties, or do you exclude certain people?

You can set yourself up for success by recognizing your unique work style and communication preference. With effective communication, you can save time, money, and energy.

At F4S we use revolutionary AI-powered technology that enhances teamwork and collaboration. The F4S work style assessment asks questions that measure the 48 distinct work traits that influence how a person conveys and processes information. A detailed report is provided, showing your unique strengths and blind spots. It compares your work motivations to top performers in the industry and equips you with data insights. Using this guide you’ll gain key strategies to be an effective communicator while increasing your wellbeing and performance.

F4S dashboard shows your traits
F4S dashboard

Plus personalized coaching is available to help you crush your career goals.

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9. Decision-making skills

No matter the role, decision-making skills are essential. You want to make good decisions regardless of your decision making style.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you make sound decisions?
  • Do you have an established and transparent decision-making process?
  • Do you make a choice in a timely manner, or is it a long and drawn-out ordeal?
  • Do you trust your decision-making, or do you second-guess yourself?
  • Do you make decisions that are aligned with the company’s mission and values?

10. Goal setting and achievement

Without goals, you will become aimless and stagnant. Setting and achieving goals is essential to professional development. It's important to define your own SMART goals. Or better yet, focus on goals with F4S and then start a coaching program such as Goal Catcher—90% of users complete their goal at the end of the program!

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you set realistic and measurable goals for yourself?
  • Do you strive to achieve them?
  • Do you seek out the resources you’ll need to reach your goals?
  • Do you set a deadline by which to achieve these goals?
  • Are these goals also beneficial to the company?

11. Empathy

Empathy is a sought-after "soft skill" for good reason. One benefit is that it can improve company retention rates. Empathy is a critical skill for managers too. Showing empathy will make people feel valued.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you try to understand the other person’s point of view?
  • Do you have the emotional intelligence to recognize your own and others' feelings?
  • Do you respond with compassion, or do you immediately criticize?
  • Do you have active listening skills?

12. Creative skills

Creativity refers to the novel ways you carry out a project or solve a problem. Creativity helps every company stand out and enhances customer service. Using creativity is linked with a higher level of problem-solving skills.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you try to find new ways to solve a problem, or do you stick to old ways?
  • Do you suggest ideas during meetings?
  • Do you have a strong big picture vision for your work?
  • Are you imaginative during the brainstorming process?

13. Job knowledge

You were hired for a specific role. You need to make sure you have the knowledge to do the wide range of tasks listed in your job description.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Are you aware of the expectations and duties relevant to your job?
  • Do you display the necessary knowledge and skills to fulfill these duties?
  • Are you aware of your own shortcomings?
  • Do you attempt to stay up-to-date on new developments, industry trends, and technical skills?
  • Do you reach out for help if you lack resources?

14. Productivity

Productivity levels refer to the amount of work done and how well you utilize your time. Valuable team members are effective contributors, even in difficult times.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you fulfill expectations and/or quotas for your role?
  • Do you remain focused on your work?
  • Do you maximize the tools and resources available to you?
  • Do you try to accomplish tasks using the most efficient method?

15. Quality of work

Quality of work assesses the accuracy and excellence of the work you produce. You may be very productive in the sense that you make a lot of something, but what you deliver may be low quality.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you hold your work to a high standard of excellence?
  • How well do you follow guidelines, procedures, and standards?
  • Do you pay close attention to detail?
  • Do you produce minimal errors and defects?
  • Do you keep up with the latest news and best practices in your field?
  • Are your team members and managers satisfied with your work?
a woman is reviewing her work meticulously with a magnifying glass to look for areas of improvement

16. Dependability

Dependability means you can be relied upon to do what you say you’ll do. It is an essential skill for any employee to have.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you follow through on your promises?
  • How well do you manage your workload?
  • Do you show up to work and meetings on time?
  • Do you hold yourself accountable to your commitments?
  • Do your coworkers believe they can rely on you?
  • How well do you manage your work-life balance?

17. Adaptability skills

While every job comes with a description, every role can expand into new areas. This is especially true for a successful career at startups, where things change quickly. For that reason, employees must be flexible.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you remain calm and flexible in the face of unexpected change?
  • Are you willing to learn as you go?
  • Do you adjust to changing circumstances with relative ease?
  • Do you approach a change in plans with an open mind?
  • How well do you embrace new challenges and opportunities?
  • How well do you learn from your mistakes and failures?

18. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills allow you to interact with others through words and body language. These skills also allow individuals to build relationships with others. They affect how well people work with others in a team setting. Great interpersonal skills are demonstrated through words and positive body language. You can develop these skills with the free F4S coaching program, Increase Emotional Intelligence.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you practice active listening in the workplace?
  • Do you show empathy towards colleagues and clients?
  • Do you make eye contact during meetings and conversations?
  • How well do you adapt the way you talk to different people?
  • Do you use body language and facial expressions to clarify your message?
 a colleague is showing high interpersonal skills by comforting a colleague that is feeling defeated

19. Organization

Strong organizational skills are essential for maximizing workplace productivity and efficiency. Many techniques can aid in organization. Organization skills include the ALPEN method, making lists, scheduling tasks, and Trello boards. Learning to be organized can set employees up for success and help the team as a whole work better.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • How well do you manage your time?
  • How well do you stay on top of your tasks and responsibilities?
  • How well do you plan and prepare for meetings and other events?
  • Do you use any tools or systems to stay organized?
  • How do you keep track of deadlines and ensure they’re met?
  • How well do you handle multiple tasks and projects at once?

20. Problem-solving

To solve a problem well, you have to look at the situation, think about your options, and choose the best one. These skills help you handle challenging situations and find creative solutions. Strong problem-solving skills can be very helpful at work. These traits are important for the growth and success of an organization. They're also crucial for conflict resolution skills and leadership roles.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you actively seek out solutions to problems you encounter at work?
  • Do you take a systematic approach to problem-solving?
  • Do you involve others in the problem-solving process?
  • Do you look at problems and think about how to solve them in more than one way?
  • Do you follow through on your chosen solutions and track their effectiveness?

How to show examples in your employee performance review

Now that you've thought about the key areas of improvement, be sure to have examples to back them up. Think about some key examples that demonstrate the areas in which you thrive - and even the areas in which you can still improve. It's a strength to know your weaknesses, especially if you're aiming to improve them.

How to improve your professional skills

So how do you get started?

Take the F4S assessment so you can learn more about your strengths and your blind spots. The blind spots will identify areas where continued learning can help so you can set clearer goals.

Your area of focus will be highly dependent on your personal goals. That's why we leverage our AI Coach Marlee, who will share personalized coaching plans to support your success.

Whether you want to be a strong leader, improve your conflict management skills, use more creative thinking, or reduce your stress levels, F4S can help.

How do I become aware of my strengths and weaknesses?

Once you've taken the F4S assessment you'll see the results of the 48 workplace traits.

F4S overview will show you areas of improvement

‍At a glance, you will see your top five motivations. These reveal the best ways to ensure you are fulfilled and energized at work. They are generally related to your passions and natural talents.

You'll also see the areas in which you are the lowest. This simply means you are less motivated in these categories. Even if you are good at them, they can feel draining.

So how does this tie into your areas of improvement?

Let's say you are low in Group Environment, meaning you prefer to work in a private space. If you work in an environment where there are large groups, your productivity might drop. To be more efficient, you might start your work day early or stay late so that you have uninterrupted time to yourself.

The more you understand your workplace motivations, the more room there is for professional improvement.

How can professional development be supported within a company?

Workers are more likely to be engaged and happy at work when managers push for professional and personal development. Performance evaluations can assist in identifying areas for improvement. This allows for professional growth. Improving professional skills makes people more valuable to the company.

Companies can facilitate professional development through performance coaching, internal training programs, and by encouraging employees to explore external learning opportunities.

F4S is a research-backed self-development platform that offers personal insights, as well as free AI coaching.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I focus on identifying areas of improvement for my career?

Identifying areas of improvement allows you to enhance your skills and overcome weaknesses, which can significantly contribute to your personal and professional growth.

How can I get started on improving my areas of improvement?

Begin by identifying areas where you can improve. Take the free F4S assessment to gain insights into your strengths and weaknesses. Leverage personalized coaching plans to work on specific skills and enhance your career trajectory.

Uncover your areas of improvement and your greatest strengths

Answer the questions in our assessment to learn about your motivations and blind spots. See your results using our real-time dashboard to better understand key areas of improvement.

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