How To Deal With A Bad Performance Review

December 17, 2020 Christina O'Handley


It can be upsetting to receive a bad performance review from your manager. Not only can it shake your confidence, but it can also be a warning sign about your future with the organization. Some may even fear that getting laid off is imminent.

Although receiving a bad performance review can be terrifying, it may be the event that helps you bounce back. Receiving this type of feedback can give you the insight you need to move your career forward and give you something to work toward in the new year.

But how exactly should you proceed once you receive this review? And how can you make improvements? Our four steps below will guide you on how to deal with a bad performance review and what you can do to improve.

Remain calm and reflect on your review

The first thing you’ll want to do right after your review is to take a deep breath and remain calm. You’ll probably be feeling a plethora of emotions and you don’t want to react in your current mindset. Once you have some distance from the event, you’ll want to reflect on the feedback your manager gave you. Were there any surprises from the review or did you have a gut feeling this was going to happen? Taking the time to truly think about the feedback from your manager will help you move forward in a productive manner.

Prepare a list of questions

Now that you’ve had some time to think about your review, you probably have a few follow up questions for your manager. During the review, you may have felt overwhelmed and unable to focus on your feedback or ask all the right questions. That’s why it’s important to create a list of detailed questions to ask your manager. You want all the details of your review to be crystal clear, so you don’t end up in the same position one year from now.

Create a plan of action

A review is meant to provide you with the feedback you need to succeed. Finding ways you can change your performance with a detailed plan will set you up for success during your next review. Once you have your questions ready, schedule a follow-up meeting with your manager to create a plan of action moving forward. It’s important to create this plan with your manager to ensure that you are both on the same page. You may also want to have check-ins with your boss before your next formal performance review to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction. Showing this initiative and having a set plan will give you the guidance you need to improve and can give you a confidence boost after a bad review.

Think about your career path

How you deal with a bad performance review can make all the difference in advancing your career at your current company. However, you’ll also need to consider why your performance was under scrutiny in the first place. While you simply may need to work on certain skills to succeed, you may also discover that you don’t like your role, or the company culture isn’t a good fit for you. If this is the case, you may want to consider searching for a new role or company that’s a better fit for you to succeed.

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