Performance Issues

Q : What do I do if I get a poor performance appraisal?

A: “Don’t overreact,” warns Michael Reid, founder and managing director of Michael James Reid & Co., an executive search and consulting firm in San Francisco. The appraisal is your boss’ perception of your accomplishments and how you performed them. You must now be objective and “develop a plan that will help repair the situation,” adds reid.

After you’ve listened to your boss’ concerns, Reid suggests you honestly assess whether the performance rating that you received was accurate. If your work hasn’t been the best–shape up. But if you believe you’ve met your company’s objectives, schedule a follow-up meeting with your boss to receive clear direction on how you can better meet his or her expectations. Tactfully respond to the appraisal in writing, and together devise an improvement plan and then implement it. Meet with your boss on a quarterly basis for performance updates, and work to ensure that you’ll be perceived differently.

Of course, a poor performance appraisal may cause you to reconsider you commitment to the company. Ask yourself whether your work habits are compatible with your employer’s culture, says Reid. Evaluate your work, responsibilities, attitude and relationship with your supervisor. If you don’t fit in, Reid advises that you “change the way you work or change companies.” If you decide to leave an exit plan that meets your needs and avoids burning bridges.

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