Making the Most of Performance Reviews
Your Own Review
1. Don’t wait until the review to ask your reviewer for feedback. Ask regularly
until feedback becomes regular. A review should never be a surprise. Make
sure you understand and can recite your goals.
2. Complete an “after action review” after key projects or meetings and events.
Identify what you have done well and what you should improve. Seek feedback
for those involved. The simple exercise of writing things down can help us focus
and become more constructive and not our own worst critic! (Sample template
3. At the end of each month, write down your accomplishments. Make it a task
on your task list. What did you do that makes you most proud? Did you meet
your goals? If you can’t think of anything quickly, stop and regroup. It is
important to ask ourselves if we are working on the right things and making the
most of the time we have. Take your accomplishments with you when speaking
to your reviewer. Refer to them as appropriate.
4. Take a bottle of water with you to your performance review meeting. Even
constructive feedback can cause a lump in your throat. If you hear something
that is new or concerns you, take a sip and count to three before responding to
5. Avoid looking at the numbers on a rating scale. We often think that a 3 on a
performance scale means a C like a report card. If there is a 5 point scale, a 3
may mean you are meeting expectations and doing exactly what you are
supposed to be doing.
6. Ask peers and people you work with for feedback. Use a formal 360 process if
available or provide them with a blank survey and ask they seal and mail to you
anonymously. This will allow you to see things your blind spots may prevent you
7. Ask your rater for specific examples on how you can improve and what goals
you have for the new rating cycle. Don’t leave until you know!
8. Graciously thank your reviewer for their time and focus on your developmental
1. Practice giving specific feedback based on behavioral based examples.
• Avoid saying “You did a good job.” This sounds fine, but what does it
• Developmental feedback indicates why the performance was good. “The
way you stuck to the agenda and kept us all on track was great. Thanks
for a good meeting.” This example provides specific feedback on why the
teammate did a good job in the meeting and they know what to repeat
2. If you aren’t able to see a teammate on a daily basis, schedule regular
intervals with them to review performance and gather their input. The formal
review process should not be the only time you discuss a teammate’s
3. Ask teammates to complete a self-appraisal or an “after action review” so they
can also prepare for their review. Allowing them time to reflect on their own
performance will make your job easier. Start your meeting by allowing them to
share what they are most proud of and what they would like to improve upon.
The teammate should be doing most of the talking. It is your goal to get the
teammate to see their performance clearly and leave feeling empowered to
change what is needed.
4. Schedule the review in a neutral setting, away from your office. Reserve a
conference room and sit on the same side of the table. This will help relax the
teammate and help them feel on the same page. Keep water and/or hard candy
in the review space for both you and the teammate.
5. Ask the teammate to come back to you with their action plan to meet the
mutually agreed upon goals for the next review cycle. Provide a deadline and
allow the teammate to take ownership of their performance.
After Action Review Template
Name:_________________________ Project or Meeting: _____________________________
Project/Meeting Objectives were:
1. Were objectives met? If not, why do you think?
2. What feedback was received from the team, participants or other sources?
3. What worked well? Why?
4. What should be repeated next time?
5. What could have been improved? Why?
6. What did I specifically do to create these results?
7. What development opportunity do I have in order to improve or repeat these results in the