While giving negative feedback can be really hard for managers, it isn’t any easier for the employees to receive it and instantly be motivated to improve their performance.
A negative performance review can be tough to accept and may sometimes demotivate you, but it is important to bounce back and drive yourself to the next level of success. Knowing that you failed at your job can be upsetting; especially when you are more used to appreciation than criticism.
But only you can decide if you want to learn from the review and improve your performance or let the negative performance review consume you and prove your managers right.
In most cases, employees do not know how to respond right after receiving a negative performance review. So they end up getting defensive and upset. Here’s what you should and should not do after a negative performance review.
Don’t respond immediately
It is hard to do this but do not respond immediately to a negative review. Handling negative performance reviews sensibly without blurting out your emotions is very important as a professional. It is natural to be wanting to react to a negative review immediately but it can seriously affect your job. Take time, think through it, and give opinions later if necessary.
Don’t get defensive
Not everyone can sportively receive a negative performance review; we naturally tend to get defensive and make statements like ‘That’s not true, ‘It happened because..’. But making such statements during a review tells more about you as a person than about the review itself. Performance review is an emotionally stressful task for both the employee and the manager, so avoid getting defensive or upset about the review.
Don’t let it consume you
Don’t be upset or depressed if you receive a negative performance review. Remember that no one is perfect, as a human you have your bad days and so do your managers. Do not give in to your negative emotions, hold on to the fact that a negative performance review is a way for you to improve yourself positively!
Don’t ignore it
Do not take a negative performance review easily. The whole purpose of the performance review is to let you know where you went wrong and how you can improve your performance. So take it seriously and understand that it’s for your own good. Participate in the discussion actively but do not be defensive or upset.
Don’t make it personal
Sometimes, you might feel that the performance review given to you was unfair. It might also turn out to be true in some cases, but do not make it personal. Making it personal and thinking that everyone is against you will decrease your morale and demotivate you. Handle the situation professionally without letting your personal opinions affect it.
Listen and understand
Before you say anything or react to the review, listen to your manager and understand what they are trying to convey. Sometimes it’s essential for the managers to be heard too. Before jumping to conclusions, think from their perspective. This will help you gain an understanding of the actual issue.
It is not always easy to review a person’s performance. There can be mistakes in the review too. So, instead of defending yourself or getting upset, back yourself up with proof and assess the correctness of the review. If the review isn’t correct, then stay calm till the manager finishes talking, and then put ahead your opinions and facts politely.
Learn from the review
This is one of the best things to do after receiving negative feedback. Do a self-review and make a plan on how to improve yourself. For many people, a negative review is a push they need to perform their best; so, utilize the opportunity and show them the best of you!
Remember to thank them
Like I said before, reviewing a person’s performance, and keeping their personal opinions aside isn’t an easy task. Always be thankful, this shows that you are dealing with the issue as a professional. After a performance review meeting, thank the manager; no matter whether the review was positive or negative.
Ask for help and plan
Receiving a negative performance review doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It is meant for you to improve yourself constantly. There is nothing wrong is asking for continuous feedback to improve yourself.
When you receive negative feedback, request the manager to help you create a strategy or plan to reach their expectations. Start it on a positive note and work hard to stay productive.
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.