Do you know where your performance appraisal is really coming from? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Do you know where your performance appraisal is really coming from?

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Q: “After working with my manager, ‘Julia,’ for eight years, I recently received my first negative performance appraisal. Previous reviews have all been quite good, with no suggestions for improvement.

Julia plans to retire soon because she feels she has no future here. Our company was acquired two years ago, and the new management has a very different style. When I get a new boss, I’m afraid this appraisal will make a bad impression. What should I do?” Worried

A: Your negative review is definitely a warning sign. If Julia has seemed satisfied with your performance, then she may be expressing someone else’s opinion. Given the recent leadership change, this feedback might actually be coming from higher management.

Because Julia has had difficulty adjusting to the acquisition, she may not have accurately conveyed the perspective of your new leaders. As a result, you could have met her expectations, but fallen short of theirs.  

To check this out, ask Julia whether any of the negative comments came from someone else. If so, try to get some direct feedback from that person, then attach an improvement plan to your review. When your new boss arrives, you can explain the situation, review the plan, and agree on specific goals.

If you get a bad appraisal, you need to react wisely. Here's how to do that: How to Respond to a Bad Performance Review.

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