There are times when an employee nervously enters the performance review anticipating bad news; he has seen the signs. Other times, employees are completely blind-sided and shocked to receive a poor or below-satisfactory evaluation. Either way, it stings. Before you get defensive and catapult a situation from bad to worse, take a deep breath and follow the tips below.
- Be calm and focus on what your manager is saying.
- Listen carefully and allow your manager to speak before interrupting to defend yourself.
- If you don’t understand, ask for clarification.
- Maintain open body language to demonstrate that you are open to feedback.
- Avoid a petulant response of “that’s not fair, “that’s not true,” or “what about my co-workers who are worse than me.”
- If you are unclear on certain points, wait for a break in the conversation to ask for clarification.
- Take notes. It will help you stay focused on the message.
- Remember to take a written copy of your evaluation with you when you leave the meeting.
- Express to your manager that you are eager to improve and that you value your job.
- Ask your manager how you can improve over the coming weeks and months.
- Ask if you can meet again in thirty, sixty, or ninety days to discuss your progress.
- Thank your manager for the constructive criticism.
- After the meeting, send your manager an email communicating your gratitude for the feedback and your earnest commitment to do better.
Consider a negative performance evaluation as a chance for professional development. Because you still have your job, you still have time to prove that you can meet your manager’s expectation. Don’t fall in the trap of feeling like a victim. Instead, be encouraged that you can turn things around and earn a stellar review the next time.