5 Ways to Turn a Negative Performance Review into Something Positive

By Chelsea Babin

Whether your company has regularly scheduled performance reviews or you were called into the boss’ office and given an impromptu review, you always hope the results will be positive. But, when you have the dreaded negative performance review you can turn it into something positive for yourself and your career with these 5 tips!

1. Identify Weaknesses: Maybe you’re not the best at identifying your own weaknesses. That’s okay! When you have a negative performance review most bosses will explain which areas you need to improve in and, although the criticism may sting at first, if it’s constructive you’ll have a specific path set out in front of you for improving your performance and getting back on the right track in your career. If they aren’t as forthcoming about why they have a negative opinion of your work, don’t be afraid to ask! This is your opportunity to identify your weaknesses so you can start to correct and strengthen them.

2. Mimic Positively Reviewed Coworkers: If everyone’s getting reviews and a coworker who does the same job or a similar job as you gets a positive review when yours is negative, don’t get upset. Instead, it’s time to mimic that positively reviewed coworker because they’re clearly doing something right! If you have a natural repartee with that coworker you can ask which areas they were praised in and focus on mimicking those first or you can focus on your own areas of weakness and see how they perform those tasks or behave differently in the same situations.

3. Take Time to Relearn: Sometimes when you get a negative performance review it’s because something went wrong with your foundation. When you were learning the basics things got a little screwed up and now you can’t seem to fix them in more complex situations. Don’t be afraid to take time to go back to basics! Whether that means learning on your own, asking to be retrained in certain areas, or shadowing someone with your same position you can absolutely relearn the basics and get the solid foundation you need for positive performance reviews in the future.

4. Take Time to Learn More: Maybe the problem isn’t that your fundamentals are flawed but that you haven’t grown your skills beyond the fundamentals. It’s important, not just to retain your current job but also to continuously improve your career and value at a company, to keep learning and growing. If your performance review was negative because your skill set hasn’t expanded recently, takes some time to learn more by signing up for a class, asking for extra responsibilities at work, or tinkering with a new technology at home.

5. Go Above and Beyond Once a Day: If the criticism is that you seem disinterested in the job or unwilling to go the extra mile and be a team player, this can be easily fixed. No matter how tight your schedule is you’ll have the opportunity to go above and beyond at least once a day and you should start prioritizing that! Doing more than what’s asked, lending a hand, or exhibiting thoughtfulness and preparedness can help you get back in your boss’ good graces while you improve your skills in other areas.

A negative performance review doesn’t have to be the end of the line for you! Instead, try these 5 ways of turning a negative performance review into a positive event in your career and your future will look brighter again in no time!