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How to Handle a Negative Performance Review Without Accepting Fault

November 22, 2017

The annual performance review can be a stressful time around the office, and even the most diligent, hard-working employees can get a negative review. While negative reviews can be an opportunity for self-improvement, often times they result from people not understanding all the thankless things you do for your company.


Before you start any healthy introspection, here are some helpful tips on how to handle a negative review without accepting fault.


1. Consider the Source


It can be difficult to take criticism, especially from a boss who somehow stumbled his way to the top without any actual talent or expertise. If you’re struggling with your review, remind yourself that you’re the only reason this smug asshole still has a job. And if his dad’s name is on the outside of the building, you can discount his opinion to 0.


2. Take Notes


Bring a notepad and take notes. This is a great opportunity to avoid eye-contact while maintaining the perception of an engaged employee. Throw in a head nod every now and then to keep his attention. And don’t worry about getting it verbatim – just stick to the buzz words. You won’t be reading this later.


3. Get Additional Feedback


Keep your review in perspective by reaching out to friends and family for additional feedback. Nobody understands your value better than your trusted circle of enablers.


4. Make a Performance Plan


Stick to goals with little to no measurable outcomes, such as “effective communication” or “improved teamwork”. If your goals require a verifiable target, include responsibilities you should have already completed months ago.



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