Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Receiving reviews from others, part of Performance Review Foundations.
So far we've talked a lot about giving evaluations to others, but what about you? You'll receive evaluations as well. Anyone can receive an evaluation but accepting it effectively is a more advanced skill. When you've received a positive or mostly positive review it's pretty straightforward. First, don't gloat. In the face of significant positive affirmations, don't just sit there grinning. Grin later. A little smile is fine, but right now, you wish to show that you're thoughtfully listening, not gloating.
Show them you're listening with a few slow nods and a few short notes if appropriate, and of course, solid eye contact. Finally, feel free use a few short, concise thank yous during the evaluation where appropriate. Then at the end be sure to thank them for the time they spent reviewing your work. No gloating, just simple gratitude, is how you accept a great evaluation. However, it's a bit more difficult when you're receiving negative feedback, or an overall review that's fairly negative. In that case, here are a few useful tips to help you survive.
The first one is important. Never interrupt. Very often we feel defensive when someone shares difficult feedback, even if the feedback is questionable. Your job is to bite your tongue and try to process it. You may or may not want to respond when they're through, but in either case let them finish. Next, check your emotions and your nonverbal responses. What I want you to do while this is happening is take a deep breath and wipe the emotion from your face. No frowning, shaking your head, furrowing your brow, or rolling your eyes.
Just an open attentive face will do. Non-verbally, sit up, don't lean back or turn away. Don't tap your pen or clinch your fists. Just be at rest and maybe take a few notes. Remember, your first goal is to seek to understand, not to immediately disagree. That's why, when they're done delivering a complete idea, you can ask a question. Be respectful and calm and use one concise question, not several rambling statements. One question.
If the tone of the conversation is comfortable, you can probe with another more refined question. However, keep in mind that they're the boss, and you don't want to question and probe on more than 30 to 40% of what they're saying. Any more, fair or not, will look argumentative if not combative. To the extent you agree with some of their comments, your next goal is to signal that you hear them and fully intend to act on their feedback to improve your performance. Especially for an issue or two they mentioned with which you really agree, stated clearly.
For example, I hear you about my presentation skills. I will use the advise you just gave me along with other resources I'll find to improve that area. Next, it's best to end a difficult evaluation with a quick summary. The person evaluating you should do this as well, so in some sense you'll be mirroring them. In any event, it's good to show that you heard the main points so they're confident you'll get back on the right track. Now it's time for you to create your own improvement plan. After a tough evaluation, do what you know your manager will do if your performance doesn't improve.
Create a specific list of goals and tasks you can commit to for a personal improvement plan. Later, find a casual way to share your plan with your boss. You don't have to give it to them, but letting them know you're using such a device is a good signal. And don't be afraid about once per week to check in with them if you have progress to report. Sometimes when you receive an evaluation you'll like what you hear. And sometimes you won't. In either event, the truly savvy professional knows how to receive feedback with poise and polish.
Follow the tips we just discussed and soon you will too.
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- Understanding the performance cycle
- Setting performance goals
- Collecting performance data and feedback
- Writing the review
- Discussing performance with an employee
- Using a performance improvement plan (PIP)<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.