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One lesson from bad review: Take initiative!

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Question: “My last performance review did not go as well I would have liked. I am trying to accept this and learn from the experience. My only issue is that we were not given our annual goals until the middle of the year. It seems rather unfair to judge me on goals that were unclear for six months. The same kind of delay appears to be happening again this year.  Shouldn’t companies be expected to give employees their goals on time?"  —Lacking Objectives

Answer:  Well-run organizations establish goals early in the year to give employees clear performance targets.  However, your company seems to have a problem in this area, so you may have to take the initiative.

Since the official goal-setting process has failed to provide you with specific objectives, schedule a meeting with your boss to clarify expectations.  Draft a set of reasonable goals for your position and ask your manager to review them.

To prevent another unwelcome surprise at review time, request detailed feedback on how to improve your performance rating.  Remember that most appraisals cover not only results, but also work habits and relationships, so you need to be sure that unmet goals were the only problem.

For some Office Coach suggestions on how to respond to a bad review, see How to Respond to a Bad Performance Review.

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