How Do I Respond to a Poor Performance Review?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 26 February 2020
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Poor performance evaluations can cause a number of negative feelings, from depression to anger. After a poor performance review, you should try to stay as calm as possible, and listen to the reviewer's explanations. Once you have looked over your performance review, you can then address any concerns with your supervisor. If you disagree with some points, be sure to calmly provide examples that contradict those points.

The first thing to remember after receiving a bad performance review is to stay calm. Show no emotion at all, and keep a professional demeanor. Above all, do not get angry and say anything you may regret later.

Most of the time, a poor performance review will be explained to you. Experts recommend that you take this opportunity to listen. Remain open to any suggestions your supervisor has.

You should also get a copy of your performance review. After doing so, you can look it over at your own leisure. Don't just scan this copy, though. Instead, read all of the comments objectively, and try to figure out if there may be a bit of truth to some of them.

You may come across some comments with which you disagree. If this is the case, gather information that proves otherwise. Perhaps the reviewer stated that you continually turned in projects late. If this is untrue, gather documentation that proves you made deadlines.


There may be some information in a poor performance review that is at least somewhat accurate. Consider this information carefully. Instead of looking at it as an attack, view it as constructive criticism. Use it to improve your performance in those areas.

Most companies will give you a chance to discuss or otherwise respond to your poor performance review. While discussing it with your supervisor, you should be calm. If there were any comments that were true, be sure to acknowledge those and present a plan to improve. This is also your chance to correct any points that were untrue, backing up your arguments with documentation.

To help you improve your workplace performance, it is often advisable to come up with a plan and goals. Discuss these with your supervisor, and ask for any feedback. Make it clear that you are willing to work hard to improve your performance, but you also need a little guidance. Also, follow up meetings with your supervisor a few months down the road can help you stay on track.


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Post 2

@Cafe41 - I agree with what you are saying, but not all supervisors give timely feedback. I think that a performance appraisal should have some positive comments so that the person does not get so defensive.

I also think that an action plan should be devised to allow the employee a chance to improve their performace. I think when an employee sees that the company will try to help them with some additional training and closer monitoring the employee will either appreciate the effort that the company is making and improve or they will hate the additional attention and quit which is better for the company because you can’t do anything about an unmotivated employee.

They are probably better off somewhere else.

Post 1

I know that a performance appraisal can be viewed very differently from an employee’s point of view. A lot of companies will ask the employee to do a self appraisa before the manager begins writing the performance reviews.

If there is a big discrepancy between what the employee issues on their self appraisal performance review, then the manager will understand what potential conflicts may arise and might be able to create performance review comments that will address the discrepancies.

I think that if there is open communication there should not be a surprise when the review comes out because most people do have a sense if they are performing their job well or not.

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