Along with the holidays often comes the annual performance review. (Yay.)
Despite all your best efforts, some years the review isn't as positive as you'd like. It might even be downright negative.
Even though it's not a very enjoyable experience, a negative performance review isn’t the end of the world, or even the end of your job.
Your challenge is to rise above it and move forward even if you’d rather hide and mope. Here are some tips for overcoming a bad review and coming out on top:
Remain calm. You’re hearing news you don’t like, but arguing with your boss, losing your temper, or breaking down in tears won’t improve matters. Maintain a professional demeanor to show that you’re committed to learning and willing to take responsibility for your performance.
Pin down the facts. Ask for specific examples of mistakes and for practical descriptions of what’s expected. Keep the emphasis on performance, not personal issues. The more information you have about how your manager views your performance, the better position you’ll be in to show your commitment to improvement—or to explain your side of the situation (as long as you can do so without getting defensive or angry).
Consider all the factors. Your organization’s culture can make a difference in how you’re evaluated, If everyone works 12-hour days, for example, doing a good job in eight hours and then going home may be seen as slacking. Also, make sure you know what your manager expects from employees. Try to base your performance around his or her goals, not a bare-bones job description.
Don’t respond immediately. If possible, ask for some time to think through what you’ve heard. Schedule a follow-up meeting, and come in with some plans for improvement. You’ll be able to address the issues more calmly and thoroughly when you don’t feel on the spot.
Ask for more feedback. The yearly review shouldn’t be your sole source of information on how you’re doing. Ask your manager for more reviews and regular feedback so you can solve performance problems before they worsen.
Accept the challenge. Once you’re clear on your manager’s expectations, commit yourself to improvement. Most leaders will give you a chance to do better as long as they see that you’re willing to do what’s necessary to succeed.