Tuesday, 3 August 2010

How to handle a Bad Appraisal?

There is a time each year when each one of us undergoes the very very critical thing in our professional lives... Performance Review and Appraisal. Believe me it is as much of a hell for the person under going it as it is for the person doing it. Performance review no matter how much ever clear definitions of Key Result Areas are, how much ever clear review a performer undergoes through... Performance review can be most depressing. Though the name is suggestive enough to be inspiring, in reality this is the most critical phase that see's low moral for a lot of employees.

I have undergone a few really bad performance reviews and undergone some of the best ones.. Here I wish to share the experience and things to do.. so for those who come under such situation can maybe get some help handling the situation...

1. Dont gather conclusions, gather facts

The immediate and worse issue of any bad appraisal is the fact that the employee draws immediate conclusions to them... X person was favoured. Y is a useless manager, Z things were not considered correctly and so on. Conclusions drawn in haste cause a mental trauma in the post bad appraisal period. In the influence of quick drawn conclusions the intention of appraisal is missed out and you forget to enjoy the real benefits you draw from the whole process.

2. Speak up, Open up and ask questions without been defensive

A lot of bad appraisals happen because the employees are not communicative enough. It is important that post bad appraisal a clear time is given to thought and the reaction to the appraisal is communicated to the Appraiser in the best possible way. If certain task done by you had issues try to ask for what and how. Getting defensive is the worst mistake a lot of people do.. causing a wrong impression in the mind of the appraiser. Stand back, take time, collect the details of the points that affect negatively and communicate more on those topics, rather defending on what best things you did.
3. Comparison is outdated

The misery of a bad appraisal is a conflict that arises between colleagues. A developer working in my team earlier would not care as much about his own appraisal as he would for the rest of the people in the Team. Resulted in his best appraisals also sounded like the worst of his own appraisal. Comparison of reviews and appraisals is a waste of energy and effort.

4. Mobs are destructive

A bad or good review when discussed in a mob turns ugly. This is such a topic that when it meets the group it turns like ammonia smelling from a rose. I once gave a real time example to a friend on how mob can be destructive in making, drawing and converting a good thing to a worst thing....

A friend of mine wanted to discuss with us when he wanted to marry a girl he liked.. he wanted his friends to suggest him if he was doing a right thing.. and he raised this when everyone met together and were drunk... To the likes and dislikes of each soul he got several questions.. a few of them made him take back his decision and in turn loose the love of his life. The questions and suggestions he got ranged from "Is she a virgin? How is it possible?" to "I think she dominates you" and "I think she is less beautiful than your ex"... whoa... how destructive can a mob get on sensitive topics? Well I would put this topic for future sometime on why...

5. Review, Reform and Analyse

A lot of bad performances result in bad decisions and steps too... The first thing to do after a bad appraisal is to review yourself, understand what went good and what went bad. Analyse and try to structure an action path. This should include those retrospectives that you missed in your offence.

6. Calculate Growth

Review and calculate the growth options for yourself. A lot of people turn to change or hop jobs thinking that their bad review or appraisal is a step towards there demise. Try to ask and identify what and how much you mean to the Team or the organization. Check for your growth options and evaluate if those options would make you happy for future.

7. Communicate

The disaster that causes the post bad review period is the communication. Sitting with a frown face, reacting with a negative mood, not co-operating or bitching around are the symptoms that show the true professional value or ethics you carry. Communicate in a effective and direct way with the appraiser with positive and strong annotations about your expectations and also about what you intend to do. This helps in building a strong relationship at the same time concluding the ethical values of a professional attitude.

8. Dig the reality than building the dream palaces
Unlike drawing conclusions the post bad review period forces anyone to build palaces of assumptions that can very well hurt the morale not only for self but for others. A reality check is necessary.. what , How , Why and When are the legitimate questions to ask for.

9. Never spread negativity
A lot of people are due to spread negativity about bosses, about organization, about people about appraisers and many more such thing... this is the most ugly thing to do and get known for doing it.. Causes the fact that your image gets built as a Bad influence... And this impression can cause more troubles than console anything else. Bitching about people, blaming others, cribbing and similar acts are symptoms of this.

10. Stand up, Back it up
The stand someone takes in times of disasters is a stand well appreciated. Stand up and support the backend system instead of blaming it. This is the right time when your influence is seen and your potential identified.

Well of course there are quite a few more to do things that can get you out of the bad review mood.. the important element is here to assert the reality and do a check of what is good and what is bad... For a bad appraisal may just be waiting on another turn you intend to take or another path you want to draw.... or maybe you would be on another side of the table .. reading or doing a Google search for such topics on how to handle the Teams... As Managers it is important that you are motivated and prepared to handle this...