You probably don’t spend much time looking forward to your performance appraisal. Whether it comes once, twice or four times a year, it’s a stressful experience for most employees – especially if you’ve experienced a negative review before.
So how do you turn things around after receiving a poor performance appraisal from your manager?
Don’t react with emotion
No matter what, never react to the situation with emotion. While it’s natural to feel defensive or angry during a bad review, acting on these emotions can actually worsen the situation. By the time you receive a negative appraisal it’s typically too late to try and explain your way out of it – your performance has been reviewed and now you must move forward.
Listen as best you can during the meeting and take notes of specific criticisms, ensuring you maintain poise throughout. Following the review, give yourself time to calm down and reflect on the feedback you received. Often times it is worthwhile scheduling a second meeting with your manager once you’re clear-headed, this gives you an opportunity to ask thought-out questions and request specific examples about your performance.
Remain calm, listen carefully and take notes.
Be honest with yourself
It may take a few days to soak in all of the information you’ve received in your review, and even more so if you requested a second meeting to discuss feedback in more depth. But once you’ve had time to reflect, you absolutely must be honest with yourself about the situation – honestly consider what you’ve been told and determine whether criticisms of your performance are accurate.
Often speaking with other members of your team about specific concerns and asking for honest feedback is a great place to start. Be sure to not put anyone in an awkward situation, but having their opinion will allow you to more accurately assess the situation.
If you can figure out what might be causing problems then you’ll be in a much better position to move forward.
Make a plan of action
The entire purpose of feedback is to help you grow and improve in your career, while negative feedback doesn’t make you feel good it can be a sign that you’re taking on new challenges. In order to succeed in anything, especially a new task, you must have a detail plan of action.
Make an initial assessment on what you need to do to improve – this could mean learning new skills, changing your behaviour or reprioritising your tasks. Agree everything with your manager in advance and set small, achievable goals that can help showcase your progress.
Make an honest apology for your poor performance and share your plan of action with your manager – simply showing willingness to improve will put you in good stead for the months ahead.
Staying on track
Now that you’re ready to make a change in your performance you must make every effort to stay on track. Here are a few ways to stay motivated to succeed:
- Arrange frequent meetings with your manager to discuss your progress
- Reassess your goals on a regular basis to ensure they remain attainable
- Keep a record of your accomplishments and praise you receive for your work – if someone offers a verbal compliment, ask them to repeat it in writing!
- Ahead of your next review share your journal of accomplishments with your manager to highlight your positive contribution to the business
Stay motivated to improve and don’t be afraid to highlight your accomplishments along the way to give yourself an advantage ahead of your next review.