How to Improve After a Not-So-Great Mid-Year Review

It can be tough to hear negative feedback in a performance review. If you feel down after a bad review, just know that you’re not alone. According to a Gallup survey, only 14% of employees strongly agree that their performance reviews inspire them to improve. But rather than becoming apathetic or letting a bad performance review defeat you, you can be one of the few employees who use it as an opportunity for growth.

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The beauty of a mid-year review is that it gives you plenty of time to improve and show positive growth by the time end-of-year reviews roll around. In that spirit, here are some tips on what to do after a not-so-great performance review.

Mid-year reviews give great opportunities to improve performance. Click To Tweet

Take Time to Reflect

Your initial reaction might be to get upset or defensive. During the review, try to stay calm, listen, and be open to the feedback you’re receiving. Closing yourself off to the criticism or refusing to change likely means that you’ll receive the same feedback during your next review, and that’s not a position you want to put yourself in.

After the review, take a few days to process the feedback. Be honest in your self-reflection—what truth is in the negative feedback? Do you have any blind spots—areas where your actual performance doesn’t match up with your own perception of your work?

Talk to a friend or coworker who’s willing to be honest and help you make sense of the feedback. Rather than looking for sympathy, look for someone who understands you and can deepen your self-reflection.

Also, be honest about your role within the company. The negative feedback may be a result of disengagement or a bad culture fit. Is this the right company/position/field for you? It may be time to consider a new company or even career path.

Ask Questions

Once you’ve taken time to calmly reflect, set up a time to check-in with your manager. Ask any questions that can help you clarify the feedback and set a course for improvement. Gallup found that half of employees don’t clearly know what is expected of them at work. So, you’ll already be ahead of the pack if you establish clear expectations.

Don't be afraid to set up a time to check-in with your manager after your review. Click To Tweet

Ask for specific examples of what you can do differently and how you can improve moving forward. Also, don’t hesitate to ask about any training that you feel would be beneficial in helping you grow. Finally, set a date to check-in with your manager and assess progress—it can be at the end of the month or quarter. You want to demonstrate that you’re committed to growth.

Set Goals

Strong, clear, step-by-step goals are the best way to keep you on track for improvement. Break larger goals into smaller subtasks, which are easier to complete and help you stay motivated. Be sure to consult your manager when setting goals—they can make sure you’re on the right path. Plus, your goals can be a solid talking point for your next review.

If you’re constantly challenging yourself to learn new skills and grow as a professional, you’re bound to encounter obstacles and constructive criticism along the way. Just remember that it’s all part of the development process, and what you do with negative feedback is much more important than the feedback itself.

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