How To Deal With A Negative Performance Review

by Srikant Chellappa Apr 14,2016

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Negative performance reviews can often blindside the most prepared of employees. After all, you don’t walk into a performance review expecting a completely negative review. And even if you do, sometimes the extent of the negativity might take you by surprise.

This article is going to focus on what should you do, in case you ever do receive a negative performance review.

Stay Calm

This is rather obvious advice, but staying calm can do you a lot of good. Being angry (no matter how deserved that anger is) doesn’t really help your case. It makes you look combative and difficult and further alienates your manager.

Steer the Conversation In A Different Direction

If the performance review veers off course and enters the personal territory, you are well within your rights to steer the conversation back on course. It would be prudent if you could do that in a calm and composed manner. If your manager continues to get personal despite your repeated attempts to focus the meeting on the review, it would be best to request that the review happens another time.

Careful Rebuttals

You do not have to agree with everything your manager says. You can offer careful rebuttals to some statements where you feel you have been assessed unfairly. The best rebuttals are ones that are stated in a precise, non-confrontational manner and are backed-up by facts.

Work Towards A Solution

At the end of a negative performance review, you can always acknowledge your faults/mistakes and work towards a solution with the help of a manager. Even the simple act of acknowledging your faults sends the message that you are willing to change. It helps smooth over some of the roughness of the review.

Evaluate Your Position

Depending on how negative the review is, in the aftermath of a negative performance review, you have to decide if you want to stay at the job or not. If the review was unfair or handled in a bad manner – and I am not speaking subjectively here – then it’s a good indicator that you need to jump ship.
A negative performance review is not the end of the world. Sometimes, they are the kick in the pants we need so that we can refocus. Sometimes, they tell you when it’s time to say goodbye to your current job and find a new one.

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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