How to handle a negative performance review

When we were in school, we used to receive grades. The grades used to tell us whether we met the teacher’s objectives as well as the standards set for learning. When these grades are good and they truly reflect your performance, you feel happy. But there are times when you worked hard but the grades display something else all together.

This experience of being graded is not very different form a performance appraisal or a performance review which is a regular occurrence in the workplace. Here, the teacher’s role is played by the manager and the student in the employee. Favourable performance reviews may be met with promotions or raises while the unfavourable ones tend to help employees correct their problems with their work – this of course happens if the negative performance review is taken in the right spirit.

A performance review may assess several aspects of your work, such as:

  • Work performance—Did you meet the set working standards, meet the company’s expectations and were productive
  • Working relationships—Did you maintain a good rapport and professional relationships with co-workers, subordinates, and managers?
  • Basic Job Skills—Did you attend work regularly, were punctual, and conformed to dress code, etc

Negative performance reviews will let you down, lead to lack of motivation, make you want to quit your job or take some other negative impulsive step. Following are certain things that you need to consider while handling a negative performance review:

  1. Understand that you need to change for the better
  2. Understand that you are being given a chance to improve
  3. Think on the criticism and see if it is justified
  4. Do not react in a negative way or take impulsive action
  5. Try not to defend yourself too much when you know that you have gone wrong
  6. Think of ways that will help you get a better appraisal next time
  7. Have a positive frame of mind to accept what’s being said about you and your work
  8. Don’t let the negativity reflect in your work
  9. While raising objections, try to be as professional as possible
  10. Listen to suggestions from your boss
  11. Don’t be discouraged if you do not receive an expected promotion or a good hike in your salary

Just keep in mind that at performance review time as well as throughout the rest of the year, managers always respond well to creative, motivated and geared up employees. So even if the performance review was not as great as you expected it to be, remember that if you change and take a few extra steps towards developing your skill sets; then a performance review that brings a smile on your face will not be a farfetched dream!