Remember the anxiety you felt on report card day? Well, a bad performance review isn’t any different. It’s hard not to take the criticism personally – no matter how constructive.
If you’ve received negative feedback, try not to panic. Although it’s entirely natural to feel blindsided, it’s important to take in all the information with poise. Whatever you do, DO NOT get defensive or worse, combative.
Instead, accept the outcome of the review, think through everything your supervisor has said – dissect fact and fiction, and then follow these 5 tips to turn your career around:
Take your time -- You may feel tempted to question things, but take a breath and cool down – no matter how justified the anger feels, acting on it will do more harm than good. Take the time to mull over things. Once you’ve cooled down, schedule a meeting with your boss and find out what went wrong. If your boss doesn’t offer specifics, ask for it. In fact, go that extra step and seek advice and suggestions to improve your performance – doing so will position you as someone who is committed and eager to learn from mistakes.
Create a plan – Once you’ve had the time to digest all the feedback – you need to get started on an action plan. To start with, focus on a couple of key areas – these should be tasks that directly impact your contribution to the business. If you feel like you need help with certain things, don’t be afraid to lean on a trusted colleague or mentor.
Keep a record – To ensure your next review isn’t influenced by the previous one, keep a detailed journal of your accomplishments. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to save emails and messages where colleagues have praised you or acknowledged your contribution. You don’t have to share it with your boss – but it’s handy information to have and if necessary present during your next appraisal meeting.
Challenge your review – if you feel like your boss has been unfair to you, it might be time to bring out the big guns, especially if you feel like your job is at risk. Ask a lawyer what your rights are and if the review can be challenged. Obviously, present substantial evidence to back your claims.
Explore your options – If you’ve tried everything and still feel like your job is under threat, it’s time to jump onto the job search wagon. Update your CV, do the groundwork, network and connect with potential employers.