HBR: What to do after a bad performance review

There are so many article and pieces out there in print and online that claim to provide a blueprint for success, whether personal or professional. However, what do you do when you get knocked down and you’re suddenly wondering whether you’re going to find success or perhaps whether you’re even on the right path. This is where a new article from HBR about how to respond to a bad performance review comes in.

It can be very hard to deal with criticism, however constructive. It can be a blow toa out self esteem. It can crush our own narratives about who we are  and what we are good at. And it can really make us wonder whether we are even on the right path and going in the right direction. The great thing about this article from HBR is that it helps us to stop, breathe and be proactive about our situation. Here are the key takeouts from the article.

  1. Reflect before you react. This can be hard to do sometimes, especially when we feel affronted or hurt. But it’s vital not to lash out or respond with a knee-jerk reaction. Allowing yourself a cool-off period is an excellent way to maintain a professional attitude.
  2. Look for your blind spots. It’s possible after reflection that your review miight have highlighted areas of yourself that you weren’t aware of before. It can be a good idea to speak with a candid friend about the feedback to see whether the review may have unearthed an area for improvement about yourself.
  3. Ask questions. This is a good idea because it shows a willingness to learn and take the feedback on board as well as helping to clarify exactly what is going wrong. Even better, ask for examples of how you can improve and what this would look like.
  4. Make a performance plan. In order to maximise the opportunity for improvement provided by this criticism work with your team leader to come up with a detailed plan of action to help you improve in key areas. This may mean learning new skills or simply altering the way you interact with your co-workers.
  5. Give yourself a second score. Give yourself a second score for the way you respond to the criticism. This is a great way of ensuring that you channel your disappointment into something positive. You may not have done great this time around, but ensuring a positive response is half the battle to getting you a better report next time.
  6. Look at the big picture. There may be some bigger questions to ask yourself. This report may be a sign that you’re not on the right track and that this isn’t the right job for you. This isn’t the end of the world as many successful people have had disappointments in their career. The secret to their success is how they dealt with it and learn from it and refocus your energies where they can best be utilized.

The most important thing to remember though, is that criticism is really an invaluable opportunity. It’s a real chance to find out your weaknesses and discover how you can overcome them. Ultimately, with a positive approach a bad performance review could in fact be the bump you need to set you on the right path to achieving your goals.

If you’ve found this interesting and would like to read more you can read the original article here. Conversely if you’d like to contribute to this discussion please get involved through the comments section.

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