Experiencing a poor performance review can be an unnerving experience – but you can find a way to move forward. Try to control your negative feelings and concentrate on a plan for the future. Give yourself some time to mourn the event, but then make the commitment to look ahead.
Get a complete view of your performance
Gaining a well-rounded view of who you are as a performer is the first step – and information is power. If your organization doesn’t use a 360 degree appraisal format, obtain additional information on your own. If you have a peer you can trust, ask for their honest perception on how you are doing and access your “invisible resume”. (For those who have a role similar to yours, also inquire about the strategies they utilize to attack the tasks you find challenging). Also consider gathering feedback from those who depend on you on a daily basis, as they can also offer a unique vantage point concerning your performance. Are you meeting their expectations? Find out. (You can read more about that here).
Put your own plan in motion
Don’t be a passive bystander if you feel that your job may be in trouble. Set up a follow-up session with your supervisor to discuss specific performance improvement strategies. Be your own training and development advocate and do your homework on programs that might help your performance. Bring along any information you have collected to the session. If you have a good candidate, discuss an individual who could serve as your mentor going forward. (Read more about mentoring here).
Set up a feedback system that works
While meeting with your supervisor discuss regular performance feedback. We know that feedback which occurs once a year is simply inadequate. But, you can’t always put the blame on your supervisor. If you need more feedback, ask for it. Negotiate with your supervisor to receive enough feedback for your needs and design a feedback plan which is mutually acceptable. Build more feedback into your work life (some pointers here) and set up a “personal feedback program” which gathers performance information from various sources on a regular basis.
Become knowledgeable as to how organizational goals might impact your job in the future. For example, learn about planned changes in service or product lines and how your role might support those endeavors. Stay on track and obtain company information that will not only help you stay on track personally, but make a positive organizational impact as well.
We all hit plateaus in our careers – but what we make of those obstacles is what really defines our work lives.
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist. Find her on Twitter and Linkedin.