What to Do After a Bad Performance Review

Getting a bad performance review at work can be devastating. Whether you feel you deserve it or not it is an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, there are things to do that will ease the pain and help you move forward to raise your performance for the next review.

The number one thing to do is take a few deep breaths and relax. You will not help yourself if you act before you reflect according to The Harvard Business Review. It will only make things worse if you show anger and argue with the reviewer. 

While you shouldn’t lash out at the company or reviewer, you also should not hide. At this point, the important thing is to keep an open mind and find out what you did or didn’t do to warrant a bad performance review. This is the hardest stage because you need to go against your initial response, but it’s worth the effort.

Understand the Criticism

You may feel that the person described in the review is not you. This could be because your self-image is slightly different from how others see you. In the beginning, try to understand the criticism and keep an open mind about how it applies to you. 

It may help get you on track to talk to a friend who will be honest in his or her evaluation of your review. It will not help you to get sympathy and flattery. 

Some things to consider:

  • Feedback is the first step towards positive change
  • Learn specific ways to improve
  • Take the initiative for a plan to improve
  • Ask questions to be perfectly clear about the bad review

After waiting a day while you analyze the review and decide if it is fair in whole or in part, you can talk to your boss. It may not be mandatory to meet your boss after receiving a review, but if your review is poor, it may raise your boss’s impression of you if you make an effort to talk face-to-face. 

You can ask questions to understand better how to improve or give your own plan for improvement. During this meeting, you should show that you take the bad performance review very seriously and will do your best to improve.

When you meet your boss, if you believe the review is valid, you should acknowledge that you understand the points mentioned and have a plan ready for improvement. You can ask for help and suggestions to improve your plan and future work.

Refute The Claims

If you want to refute the claims, you should first acknowledge any points you feel are valid and give specific ways you plan to improve. After that, you can bring up any points you don’t think are valid. You will need to present proof in the form of emails, met deadlines or other concrete evidence to back up your claims. 

When you ask your boss questions, your tone should be humble. You should not come across as if you are challenging the performance review. Keep control of your temper even if you feel very angry. Crying will also not help your situation. 

Never blame your colleagues or make excuses for your poor performance. Your aim is to understand the review, so ask as many questions as it takes to get clear and even ask for examples if the explanation doesn’t clear up your doubts. It is important for your future to get concrete examples of what you should be doing differently. 

Performance Plan

Once you understand the aim of the review, you can start to make a performance plan with a detailed plan of action. Some of the things that you may need to do to improve your performance are learning new skills, understanding how your colleagues see you, reprioritizing tasks.

Your boss or direct supervisor will help you make changes. Your plan should include a timeframe. You may need 30 – 60 days to try different things to improve your performance. During this time, you can ask your boss or colleagues if they see any improvement.

Way You Handle a Poor Review

The way you handle a poor review of your performance at work will be a big factor in your next review. The fact of getting a bad review is not the end of your professional career, but if you have a bad attitude and fail to find a way to improve your work, it may be.

Aiming for a good score on the next review will show your boss that you care about your job and the company. This will go a long way to improving your next review.

For some people, a poor review at work is an indication that they may be in the wrong job. They may not be suitable for the work or may not be working for the right company. Either way, the bad review will help you improve your work performance or move on.

Quick Links

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