Have you ever had a negative performance review?

Have you ever had a negative performance review?

Did you turn things around or leave the company?

A negative performance review can leave you feeling very demotivated. I recently met with with someone that had a negative review. They were confused, disappointed & left the meeting with more questions than answers. The fact that they were taken by surprise with the evaluation is a good indicator that the supervisor may not have been communicating as well as they could have, (or perhaps you may not have been paying attention).

You should never walk into a performance evaluation and be surprised by what you’re hearing, especially if it’s negative. Ideally, your boss will give you feedback on your performance over the course of your employment, and you’ll know well in advance of a review if you haven’t been meeting his or her expectations.

An honest performance review can help you identify and overcome obstacles that may have been holding you back. Many managers avoid the challenging conversations during these meetings because they don’t manage conflict well (it can be almost as difficult to give this feedback as it is to receive it). If you accept the constructive criticism and work to address it, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of receiving a stronger review the next time . Also regular check-ins to discuss your progress on key issues may assist, the more closely you work together, the better chance you’ll have for improvement.

So if your manager is not communicating clearly or regularly on how you’re performing in your role, there’s nothing wrong with asking to meet with them and asking the right questions in a respectful manner. Give them the opportunity to prepare by sending an email reflecting that it’s been some time since you last met about how you’ve been going in your role. Let them know that you feel like your performance has met/exceeded expectations (if this is the case) and that it would be great to get their thoughts on how you could improve. Request to catch up in the next day or so to discuss and gain their feedback to show you are keen to continually improve in your role.

From my experience, as a line manager, the key is to set clear expectations and goals around key performance criteria. And I am a big believer of “what gets measured gets done”. Regular one on one meetings, tracking actual to targets, monitoring behaviours & outcomes, ensures work can be improved or rewarded as it occurs.

It may be that you are a square peg trying to fit into a round hole within a particular business, but at least you have been given the best chance to be successful.


Ronnie Ann, Founder of Work, Coach, Cafe outlines when good people have bad performance reviews that “we usually have at least two choices — accept things as they are or change! Since you’re already at this job, it really does pay to give it another chance by seeing what you can do to make things better for yourself. You might surprise yourself … But of course, if it’s really time for you to go, then see this as your ticket to something better”.

The following link is worth a read and provides some tips to handling a negative review http://bit.ly/1jHfPmp

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