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How to keep yourself at ease during Appraisal Meetings?


A Performance Appraisal (PA), as we all know, is a method by which the job performance of an employee is documented and evaluated. It is definitely a tough task for the managers and leave a tough time for the employees indeed, only a few lucky people come out with flying colors. An employee’s greatest need is to feel appreciated for the performance he/she contributes. But more often appraisal meetings end up in a debate- awkward and tension filled one-on-one performance appraisal reviews.

One-on-one Boxing Personified

Imagine a boxing ring where two people want to show off their courage and prove their points to decide who the winner is. I believe the same is happening in the performance reviews. Every discussion room adapts itself to be a war field where the manager and the employee have a heated conversation and often end up in an argument.

It is often due to the over expectations of an employee which leads to dejection and frustration resulting in hatred towards the one on one meetings. Often we come to our performance appraisal meeting with our manager feeling a bit defensive. We brace ourselves only to hear criticism and ratings that affects our progress, hike and advancement in the company. More than discussing the performance review, the conversation gets deviated to ego clashes, envy, difference of ideas all put together brings a bad image on the manager and it takes a toll on the organization as well.

Stop, Relax, Go

We should prepare ourselves for the appraisal meeting with the manager by trying to relax and go of defensiveness if there is any. Our aim is to listen to the feedback what the manager provides us and to discuss the future roles and development plans for the betterment of our career. I would like to share a few thoughts on my personal experience on how to keep you cool during appraisal meetings.

  • No matter how many bullets are fired against your performance, it’s only within the four walls; try to maintain your calm and composure throughout the meeting.
  • If you have anything to say or refuse, do it in a pleasing manner, please ensure neither you nor the manager gets offended.
  • Always try to listen to the manager’s feedback deeply, analyze whatever has said and then only should you try to substantiate or explain whatever you have to say. Never lose your temper.
  • Always have patience to listen to your negatives, where we need improvement, where our performance lacked and just make a note of it.
  • Everyone makes mistakes. So it is always better to learn from your own mistakes.
  • We can share our experience with the manager, where we struggled, how harder we worked, how much effort we put in and where we would like to expand our skills and expertise as part of our career growth and progression.
  • We always strive to deliver our best to the organization still there might be times where things don’t go well as planned. At times we need to accept what comes rather than putting balls in someone’s court.
  • We may also ask for coaching, mentoring and extra training or help in the areas we need to improve for our career development.
  • Last but not the least; never compare your grades with your colleagues/team members. Each one of our priorities differs and our performances will not be on the same line. Hence comparing the grades only brings you disappointment.

It’s Not the End

Many of us tend to get furious and vent out our frustration on the manager taking this meeting as an opportunity but it really makes no sense. At the end we will be the losers. Venting out and working for the same manager again can only worsen our working environment.

The employee must take the review in a positive manner so that he will be able to build his career upon it. He has two options in hand right after the meeting. Number one, expect the worst, take it lightly whatever comes and focus on your career plans ahead. Number two, giving too much of thoughts to the feedback, feeling defensive and quitting your job. The latter attitude of taking decisions hastily on the emotional front will not help. Appraisal meetings happen every year all around the world and you can’t afford to shift your job every other year.

Getting Prepared

It is good idea to complete a self evaluation by you before the meeting. Identify any challenges that limited your abilities to perform as well as any support you received from others.

Make note of any additional responsibilities you were given. Also note down any training or development activities you completed.

Prepare a list of your accomplishments. Give a brief of ‘how’ you accomplished your goals. Give these details to your manager every quarter which will help him understand your performance.

You can also discuss about the progress and directions at that point of time and you can even request him to highlight at least one area of improvement for you. Make sure you work on it and show progress in the next quarterly meeting.


Ultimately, one-on-one meetings are supposed to be an eye opener for the manager and the employee in terms of taking forward their relationship as well as to take the organization to newer heights and in the process go along with the organization. You are the one who has got the total responsibility to manage your performance and ensure your career growth and success. Make use of the appraisal reviews to keep track of your performance and ensure that you get a meaningful feedback and direction that help you grow.

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