A month into the new financial year means that many organisations are in the process of wrapping up their performance reviews or have already done so. For some, a good appraisal will translate into an impressive increment, but for others, not-so-good and outright negative reviews will be a warning sign and even worse off will be those, who will be caught unaware. It is important to understand that once in a while, things go south, and we – as humans – make mistakes. Don’t begin doubting your capabilities and skills if this is a one-off incident, rather, come up with an action plan to ensure that this becomes the last time you get a negative review. To help you get started, we have put together a few tips and pointers, as to what you should do once you get a bad performance review:
- First reaction: If the review has taken you by surprise, do not react emotionally or dramatically. Understand what is being communicated to you, and do not get defensive, angry or suspicious. Maintain your calm, and if needed, request for an elaborate follow-up meeting to address your concerns, but do not out-rightly reject the findings of your performance review. How you handle feedback is very important, for it will tell your manager if you can gracefully accept your shortcomings.
- Probe a little more: During the meeting, ascertain specific instances and situations where you could have done better. Ask your manager as to what was expected of you vs. what you delivered. If your manager is not able to give satisfactory answers at this stage, it might indicate that appraisal process wasn’t conducted as rigorously as it could have been. Furthermore, this interaction will provide you with a chance to present your side, and dispel any untrue generalisation that your manager/boss might have formed towards you.
- Get feedback from others: Ask colleagues in your team whether they have noticed a slump in your performance as well. Do not just count on friends, who might just agree to everything you say, but ask the people you have worked with. Do not just vent to people around you, but ask for their genuine and honest feedback. Often how we view ourselves, and how others view us, is different. Hence, even if you cannot digest the fact that you have gotten a bad review, make sure you understand why you got it – from others.
- Follow-up meeting: Once you and your manager have reached at a conclusion regarding your review, immediately request a meeting with them to talk about how you can improve going ahead. This will reflect on your ability to take initiative and willingness to improve. Spend some time preparing for this meeting, no matter how short it is, and do not waste time giving explanations during this time. Focus on how you are going to ensure the same mistakes aren’t repeated.
- Become pro-active: Come up with a plan to better your performance. Discuss this plan with your immediate manager and talk to them about what you intend to do differently in the future. Take their suggestions and advice into account, and list down a time-bound plan to improve your results. Do not be hesitant to ask for support from the manager, or the team, or your colleagues. Being pro-active will reflect on your keenness to improve.
- Fix a time for another review: Finally, do not wait for another year or six months to be reviewed. If a bad performance review is something that you are going to take lightly, make sure you recover from it as soon as possible. Ask your manager to hold a short-informal review with you after a time that suits you both, to review goals, progress, and performance. Give yourself a deadline to being your performance on track, and stick to it.
A negative performance review, unless a regular feature on your record, is nothing to be afraid of. If anything, it should be taken as a reality check to pull up your socks. Nobody can maintain a stellar performance at all times, and it is important to fully comprehend the low-points of your career, if you want to achieve success. Do not panic, seeks clarity and support, and get back in the game with renewed enthusiasm, and things are bound to improve. Good luck!
Have you gotten a bad appraisal recently? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below.