Why does it seem like your performance review wasn’t even about your performance? Have you left ‘the room’ thinking, “It’s so unfair … I deserve more … they don’t even know all the things I do … etc.”
Because I care about your health and wellness, I am going to save you some heartache here. I’ve been there done that, and it is no way to live!
What to Do?
First, let them have it.
Let them have their way with the antiquated process they refer to as a performance review. What I mean is, allow them full ownership and detach yourself from the outcomes (See Post #35). If your emotions are dictated by this nebulous process that utilizes the input of others, you will (almost always) find disappointment in the end.
Emotional wellness should not be dictated by external things outside your control.
One trick to help with detachment: think of your performance review as a credit report. Other people, who you don’t choose, who know little about you, get to hold you accountable. These people judge you against constraints without your consent. Then, they rank you based on said constraints, resulting in a punishment/reward system. You virtually have zero control over the process, rules or decision-making.
You’re left with the output, which may or may not be representative of your behaviors.
The performance review is part of a process that fulfills an organization’s goals. It caters to their own guidelines, business objectives, and even offers legal protection. According to bizfluent, “Federal and state laws regulate employee performance reviews.”
Let the employer own their performance review, their processes and the stakeholders. Of course, if you disagree with written remarks then you must pick and choose which battles to fight. But in general, release the whole process from your mind and let them have it so you can make space for more productive matters.
What NOT to Do
I highly advise against radical attempts to improve next year’s review.
Do not work extra ‘hard’ or go above and beyond simply for the sake of achieving a ‘better’ review. Your health and wellness are priceless, and aiming to improve the next review can deplete you. It can insidiously drain your energy while sucking the life out of you, creating resentment toward the employer.
And be aware – you’re fooling yourself if you believe, “I’ll just work harder, I’ll stay longer, I’ll jump when they snap their fingers and do all things necessary…” At the end of the day, at the end of the year, you will be judged by others.
Therefore, apply your energies where you have the most control: your own development.
What Matters Most
For a moment, forget about the colleagues, the boss and the customers. Instead of wondering, “What do they think, how can I please them, what will they say, etc.,” I invite you to redirect these questions.
What do YOU think about your performance? What would YOU tell someone about yourself, your work ethic, and your accomplishments? This practice, my friends, is both a difficult yet extremely rewarding aspect of self-development.
Here’s the thing. Management may choose to dismiss your successes and accomplishments. But at the end of the day, you know your performance level. You understand something that no one else possibly can – your own efforts. That’s what matters most: holding yourself accountable to you.
Why does that matter the most?
Accountability is a self-reflective habit that over time will start to create something amazing in your life: sustainable happiness. Accountability includes redirecting your energies away from the forced performance review and instead applying them toward:
- Tackling your day-to-day obstacles with the provided resources
- Being like the bigger adult in the room
- Deliberately choosing productive responses in light of circumstances
Focusing energies inward allows you to recognize, cultivate, and apply self-development to your job and to your life … unlike a biased performance review, which vanishes into the digital world of bureaucratic formalities.
Let me know how unfair your mandatory performance review was and how it affected you!