How to React To A Negative Performance Review

by Srikant Chellappa Feb 11,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Negative performance reviews can blindside even the most prepared of employees. You walk into a review expecting good feedback or at the most, mixed. But when you are faced with a barrage of negative remarks, the extent of the negativity might take you by surprise.

Here is what you can do, in case you ever do receive a negative performance review.

Remain composed:

Though it’s a common advice, staying calm is not a very easy thing to do. When you are hit with negative reviews, your first instinct would be to get heated up with anger, embarrassment and anxiety. But, being angry (no matter how justifiable it 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 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.

Also read: Negative Performance Review: A Plan For Moving Past It

Tactful Rebuttals:

You do not have to agree with everything your manager says. You can offer careful rebuttals to the 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.

Keep a solution in mind:

Don’t let the negative feedback affect you. You can always acknowledge your faults/mistakes at the end of the negative performance review and work towards a solution with the help of a manager. Even the simple act of acknowledging your misses sends the message that you are willing to change. It helps smooth over some of the roughness of the review.

Also read: 7 Proven Way To Be A Better Leader In The Workplace

Figure out where you stand:

After the negative review, take some time to understand where you are at. Then you can decide if you want to stay at the job or not. If the review was unfair or handled in a bad manner (think in an objective manner, without getting emotional), 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 exactly what we need, so that we can either streamline our performance or move to a more compatible environment.


If you want to know how Engagedly can help you with performance reviews, request a personalized demo and talk to our experts!

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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 2023.

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