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The Best 3 Step Process to Survive a Poor Performance Review

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

The perfect employee doesn’t exist. No one is flawless. We have all made mistakes inside and outside of work that make us stop and reflect on where we are and what we are doing. It can be tough to get over a performance review that is less than desirable, they can leave you feeling dejected, unmotivated and embarrassed. As Dale Carnegie says, “If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically”. More than once I have felt that imposter syndrome take over, making me feel unqualified to be in my role and irrelevant to my organisation. Working from home these last few months has had an impact on morale, productivity and motivation, so it may be understandable that as you transition back into work things may need to change. The way I have learned to learn from this type of feedback is ‘The 3 R’s’. This method will help you learn from your experience and prepare you for a stellar next review.

The first and foremost thing you must do is register, it may be difficult but try not to get defensive. Think about where your reviewer is coming from and take some time to let the feedback register, as Dale Carnegie tells us “try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view”. Remember, they would not have taken the time to give you the feedback if it wasn’t valuable. Find someone outside the office for you to vent to, don’t let any anger or resentment build up otherwise you may end up hurting yourself more in the long run.

As difficult as it may be, it is worthwhile to look reflect on the gaps in your performance that lead to this review. We often have blind spots when it comes to our own work and it can be challenging to identify your own areas for improvement. On more than one occasion have I found myself blaming external circumstances for my own shortcomings. Talk to people around you who can help you learn from this feedback, rather than reinforce your own ideas of the performance that lead you to this point. Take a look at your attitude, your KPIs and your projects over the period since your last review. How do you feel about the work you have been putting in?

Now that you have identified what hasn’t been working for you in the past, it’s time to look at the future and build the road-map to your success. Give yourself a second chance to get back up and build yourself back to where you used to be and aim to smash your next review. What areas are you going to focus your time and attention? Do you need to plan your time more effectively? Have another conversation with your manager and identify the key areas for you to improve on. Take some time and test things out that may help you improve on your efficiency, run a trial period and see how these things go.

Remember, one bad review doesn’t define you as a person or your career. A myriad of successful and influential people have failed at some point on their journey, however they saw it as an opportunity to grow and improve. You are allowed to get knocked down from time to time, but what matters is how you get back up. Dale Carnegie teaches us tried and true principles for handling criticism and becoming the best version of yourself. Click here to read on how you can create the most positive change:

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