Do you dread your annual performance review?

Far too many people become unnecessarily anxious during this time of the year. However, most employees have very little to worry about. Annual reviews come and go with suggestions for better performance and a raise in pay. But what happens when your review nightmares come true? How do you deal with a negative performance review? And, more importantly, how can you use that information to motivate you in the coming year? Here are some ideas.

Don’t get defensive.

The first step is to take a breath before responding to any negative criticism about your performance. Recognize that their words aren’t indicative of you as a person but of the work you are doing. It can be hard not to take it personally, but if you do so it will only add insult to injury. Listen to what they have to say and think about, even for a few days, before you respond.

Understand the truth in their perspective.

Perception is reality. The observations that your managers have made are not completely unfounded. Try to look at their words objectively and take them for what their worth. They aren’t telling you these things to be mean, but to help you improve. Understand why they might say the things they have said.

Create solutions, not excuses.

Responding to a bad review with excuses about your behavior will only compound the problem. Instead, be solutions oriented. Figure out ways you can make big changes in your work style or approach that can improve the situation. It is natural to make excuses, but that won’t solve the underlying problem. Learn from your mistake.

Make a career change if necessary.

Is this review something that you simply cannot come back from? Do you so fundamentally disagree with it that you can’t continue working for the company? Maybe it is time to understand that this job is not the right working environment for you. You may want to begin looking for a new job but be sure to keep your search discrete. You don’t want to compound the situation by giving them reason to fire you.

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