Everyone hopes to get a glowing report at their annual performance review, but sometimes, you’re met with more negative feedback than positive. Receiving a bad review doesn’t have to mean it’s time to change jobs or signal the end of your career, though. With the right response, you can survive and even thrive. Just make sure you follow these four tips.
No one likes being told they’ve made a mistake or done something wrong, and it’s normal to feel upset. However, now is not the time to lose control of your emotions. As The Wall Street Journal explains, “while it’s natural to feel defensive or angry during a bad review, career coaches advise against acting on these emotions to avoid making matters worse.” Remind yourself that the performance review isn’t personal and try to think logically about the situation.
Be an Active Listener
As you push through the emotions, really listen to what your supervisor is saying and take detailed notes. Ask questions to clarify anything you don’t understand during the performance review. If your manager is being more general, ask for specific examples of mistakes, why your actions were incorrect, and what you should have done differently. And, as Marie McIntyre, a career coach and author, told CNBC, “Even if you don’t completely agree, you need to show that you understand.”
Make a Plan
Once the bad review is over and you’ve had time to digest everything, you need to come up with a game plan to address the problems your supervisor pointed out. Think about what behaviors or actions you need to change, how you can address issues before they become problems again, and if you should involve your co-workers in your plan. Also, make sure you take into account what your manager said you should have done. Then hold a follow-up performance review meeting to present the plan to your supervisor and get their approval.
Stick with It
The last part of your response is the most critical, because if you don’t follow through with the needed changes, you will only make things worse. Review your plan often, hold yourself accountable, and request regular feedback from your manager. As you see things improve, take notes for future meetings and performance reviews. The Wall Street Journal recommends “keeping a detailed journal of your accomplishments. Memos that commend you on your work accomplishments also should be filed.”
Nobody is perfect, so don’t let a bad review get you down. Your response to the review is actually far more telling and important than what you did wrong in the first place. Employers value employees who can accept critiquing, be proactive, and implement changes on their own. So, the next time your performance review doesn’t go how you hoped, seize the opportunity to do more than just survive and show what a great employee you truly are.
Have you had a bad review before? How did you survive? Share your experience and insight in the comment section below.
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