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Received a Poor Performance Review? How to Recover


It’s easy to feel discouraged and defeated if you receive a poor performance review from your supervisor. You may feel like you gave your job your all, putting everything you had into your work, and yet your review suggests you did not. Maybe you know your job performance lacked in certain areas but you feel motivated to clean-up your act so your next review reflects a better evaluation.

So, what is a job performance review?

A review of your job performance should give you an overall assessment of how you are performing at work, as well as how and an employer perceives your work within the organization.

It covers a wide range of topics and is done for a few reasons:

  • to give you an employer’s perspective on how you are managing your work tasks – their views on your job performance
  • to document your mistakes as well as your successes
  • the evaluation is kept in your employee records so your employer or company can keep track of your performance to see how you are measuring up to their expectations

Reviews may be given at different intervals during the year – they may be quarterly, semi-annual and annual. Annual performance reviews are the most common as it makes the most sense. A year gives employees ample time to work on their job performance and change previous negative behaviors, turning them into positive ones.

What should happen during your review?

During your review your employer should go over the goals that were expected of you at the time of your hire and where you stand now. They should also ask you to rate your own performance. The ratings should be compared to the facts regarding your work performance. A measurable metric, for example, would be meeting a sales quota or completing projects on time and on budget.

If goals have not been met yet, this is the time to discuss them and outline the duties of improvement, and how you plan to accomplish them and when.

I received a negative performance review. How do I recover?

It is during the review that the areas of concern and discernment need to be addressed. It won’t do any good to get upset or angry so remain calm and listen. It’ll be your turn to speak and it’s not the time to lash out in retaliation. Ask your boss to go over each concern and/or reprimand and to explain their findings. It may have been a simple misunderstanding, and perceptions versus the truth usually can be clarified once both parties explain their sides. This may even change the course of the entire review.

Once you have heard your boss’ explanations, let him know you would like to address each of his criticisms and address them in a professional manner. If you do not have an explanation, make sure you let him know you plan to work on the problem and rectify it. It is always best to acknowledge your mistakes rather than try to sweep them under the rug, deny them or throw another employee under the bus. This makes it hard for employers to take you seriously or have faith in your future performance.

Document everything. We mean it.

Start to keep your own documentation of your job improvement. Once you receive a negative performance review, it is important for you to alter your work behavior and improve on the crucial areas you were notified of.

Keep notes on projects you’ve accomplished along with the positive details – the date you started, efforts made to complete it and how long it took to meet the deadline. If a co-worker provides praise during a project, don’t be afraid to ask for it in writing, as further proof of your performance improvement. It would be valuable to you at your next performance review.

Keeping tabs on your own performance will help you stay on track in areas you are succeeding with, and which ones you need to still work on. Your ideas of where you are succeeding may differ from your employer’s. In order to stay on the same page, request a follow-up meeting with several months after your review to go over your current performance.

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Coaching Poor Performance


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