Guest Post by Martina Mangelsdorf

Not matter how much we’d love to exceed our objectives year in and out, you will never be a high-flyer all the time . If you have just received a bad performance review, either the negative review is justified because you really didn’t achieve your goals, or you have been rated unfairly.

Bad Performance - First Aid

No matter what, both options are bitter. Still it’s not the review in itself, but how you deal with the consequences that will make or break your career. So if you happen to find yourself in such a situation, here is a little bit of First Aid advice to recover fast – and eloquently:

In the moment: Listen thoughtfully

If the information you get is a complete surprise to you (which it shouldn’t be!) or if you feel too overwhelmed to respond immediately, tell your manager that you would like some time to digest everything that has been said and request a time to meet again. Resist the temptation to counter everything that has been said, because you’ll end up in a fight you’re never going to win.

Go and take some time out

Calm down, cool down. Accept your emotions but don’t let them get the best of you. Acknowledge them, then let them pass. Your main goal now is to find something that motivates you to get through this. It can be a bigger sense of purpose, your longer term career aspirations or your ambition to grow. Self-motivation is an important muscle to flex in this situation. Slide in the dip of your motivation curve but come back up! After all, this review is just one chapter in your career.

Learn, learn, learn

When you feel up to it, thoroughly analyze what went wrong or what prevented you from succeeding. Your principal objective for the next year is to learn from this negative experience and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. That’s all you got to care about, so LEARN the hell out of this experience – later on in life you will look back and find that the worst crisis are the best teachers.

Ask for training

Consider asking for training if you failed because of lack of knowledge. Ask your manager or the Human Resources department for guidance and information on available programs. Keep in mind that training is more than just classroom education.

Relationship-based learning through mentoring or coaching as well as development in role or stretch assignments are often even more powerful. If your company is interested in grooming you for more responsibility take it as a compliment – training is expensive and a sign that your company is invested in your growth with them.

Accept and move on

Last but not least, move on. Nothing will change if you continue to fume and wallow over negative aspects of a performance review. Once you accepted the review and have sought appropriate remedies, don’t hang on to the negativity and its toxic impact on your motivation and future performance.

At all times, even when the performance rating is not what you have expected, stay professional. You might experience this event as failure, but it’s really only one of the many challenges you’ll come across in your career.

And it’s exactly these challenges that get you eager and committed to grow beyond your current performance and fuel your career. No one ever rose to the top without overcoming roadblocks that seem hard to conquer at first, so why would you?

Guest Author

Martina Mangelsdorf Martina Mangelsdorf is a thought-leader on generational differences in the workplace and the founder of GAIA Insights, a boutique firm specialized in engaging, developing and retaining corporate Generation Y talent. She has created a unique Gen Y Performance Review Toolkit that helps you to be fully prepared for this crucial conversation. It offers step-by-step guidance and plenty of practical tips to transform the performance review from a scary monster to a platform to unleash your potential. Click here to check it out.