Blindsided by a poor performance review?

Receiving poor feedback during a performance review is never easy, regardless of whether you’d anticipated it or not. Not only can it feel like a personal attack on you as a person, it can also be difficult not to take it to heart, or let it knock your confidence.

If you’ve been left feeling blindsided by a performance review, then what you do next is key. So, I’ve detailed some crucial steps to take that could help you to turn a poor performance review into a constructive learning opportunity.

1. Don’t react immediately

Even though this may go against every instinct that’s inside you right now, it’s essential that you don’t immediately get “on the defensive” and react negatively. Taking feedback onboard in a constructive and proactive way is part and parcel of achieving sustained career success. You therefore must do everything you can to ensure you’re perceived as somebody who takes feedback well, using it as an opportunity to learn and develop. Be mindful of this and adjust your initial reactions accordingly.

Take a deep breath and allow some time to reflect on the specific feedback points. Interestingly, research suggests that by first taking a step back and allowing yourself to ‘feel the pain of failure’, you’ll be in a stronger position to make constructive use of the areas detailed in your poor performance review. It seems that by allowing yourself to really feel the emotion, in future, you’re more likely to do everything you can to avoid being in the same position again. As Dr. Selin Malkoc states, “…When faced with a failure, it is better to focus on one’s emotions — when people concentrate on how bad they feel and how they don’t want to experience these feelings again, they are more likely to try harder the next time.”