Poor Performance Appraisal? 9 Ways to Turn That Negative Into a Positive

Poor Performance Appraisal? 9 Ways to Turn That Negative Into a Positive

Annual appraisals are unavoidable. Still, supervisors dread delivering them as much as the staff dislike getting them. In case there is a performance appraisal to happen soon in your software development organization, and you’re anxious, you’re not the only one. Since appraisals are unavoidable as they have a key role in evaluating the performance of the employees in an organization, the best way to deal with them is by taking the feedback in a lighter and positive light.

Whether you get negative or positive feedback from your employer, you need to understand that you are not alone. No matter how good or bad you have performed, the main purpose of an appraisal is to provide such feedback that could help employees to improve their performance whether it is below or above the satisfactory level of employers. In case you receive negative feedback from your supervisors, and you know that it’s for the benefit for you and your organization. Still, it is difficult to accept it without getting negatively affected by it.

It is important to understand that whether you receive negative or positive feedback from your employer, you need to accept it wholeheartedly and do not get offended by it. This will help you to improve your performance and make the most out of the feedback. Such feedback is a great way to understand your strengths and weaknesses and work upon them correctly to improve your performance and ultimately achieve your desired career goals.

The following tips and techniques can help you to accept negative feedback and criticism more constructively and positively:

1.     Prepared for Criticism

Being mentally prepared for any harsh criticism beforehand is the key to accept negative feedback positively, especially if you work in an agile organization.

From the moment you enter the meeting, you need to be prepared for any type of criticism; be it negative or positive. It must be realized that the role of an Agile Business Analyst is to promote adaptability in software development approaches. Many times, even the manager and supervisors are not skilled enough to provide the feedback correctly. They might be blunt or lack good communication or people skills. Therefore, it is better to be mentally prepared to hear any type of criticism or feedback without being offended or disturbed. Many times, negative feedback can be hard to accept if you have worked really hard on a particular project or an assignment.

2.     Trust Your Instincts

You also need to understand that whatever your supervisors say cannot be completely accurate about your performance. You may have performed poorly on a particular project, but that does not necessarily mean that you lack skills or knowledge. This way, you can learn to accept harsh criticism in a lighter and positive way. Make sure not to react instantly and give some time to think over the criticism and react accordingly.

3.     Don’t Let Criticism/Comments Affect You

Criticism, whether it is positive or negative, should not affect you in a bad way. You need to understand that if your employer or an agile business analyst is investing his time in evaluating your performance and giving you feedback despite being good or bad, he actually values your skills and wants to see you perform better.

It is understood that the role of a business analyst is to maintain the credibility of an organization by solving problems and promoting goal orientation. You need to realize that your supervisor wants you to step outside of your comfort zone and develop such skills and qualities that will help you in your career in the long run and also enable you to meaningfully contribute to the enterprise.

4.     Be Cautious Of All The Positives Too

Getting positive reviews all the time is also not a good thing. Sometimes, it indicates that your supervisors are paying less time and attention to your performance. Since criticism helps to improve and enhance your skills and performance, getting good reviews all the time may make you content for the time being, but might be harmful in the long run.

It is also advised to be frequently engaged with your team scrum master and get his opinions regarding your professional role and responsibilities. Having on board, a Certified Agile Scrum Master helps your team adapt quickly and make changes according to agile principles. Being part of regular meetings or scrums and being actively involved in reviews with your scrum master can help you handle criticism or annual appraisals.

5.     Do Not Misinterpret Feedback

It is also possible that you misinterpret any feedback given by your supervisors or manager. Therefore, it is better not to come to any conclusions instantly and wait to understand the response in a better way. You may get disappointed by negative criticism or feedback, but you need to give some time to understand what your manager was talking about and what he expects from you. If you are still confused or doubtful, you can always set another meeting to discuss it and clear any misconceptions about the feedback.

You need to make sure that your tone is correct and don’t take any feedback personally. You can ask your supervisor about his expectations of you. If there is something that you may have not discussed in the previous meeting, you can discuss it with your manager in this meeting. This will help you to learn what your manager expects from you and what areas and skills you should work on.

6.     Improve Yourself

Once you have figured out the skills you lack in, you need to develop ways to work on them and improve yourself. Taking negative criticism positively is not enough. You need to work hard and improve your performance. It is better to let your supervisor know that you are working towards improving your skills and performance. This will help to keep you motivated and let your supervisors know that you are capable of taking criticism professionally and are motivated to improve.

7.     Highlight Your Strengths and Weaknesses

To improve your performance, you need to first figure out your strengths and weaknesses. It is possible that you need to refresh a certain skill or learn a new one. If there is some skill that might help to improve your performance, then it is better to start learning it immediately. There many courses available online like PMP certification course that are specially designed to help employees who are already working and do not have much time to give to learn a new skill.

8.     Ask For Regular Feedback

It is better to ask your supervisors for regular feedback, whether it is positive or negative. This may help you to avoid getting any negative feedback from your supervisors in future.

9.     Take Appraisals Seriously

Consider appraisals as a wake-up call and a source for self-improvement. Try to bring reforms in your approach and an overhaul in your professional conduct, for, negative feedback might be the result of your unprofessional attitude. Try to take this feedback positively and revisit your weaknesses. You could feel that job satisfaction is missing from your life. Or maybe it is that you were just not cut out for your job role.

If you are simply underperforming due to lack of professional expertise, then take a step back and pause. Do a thorough self-assessment and figure out your weaknesses. Revise your career path and explore your options.


If you had your eyes set on that increment or promotion and did not receive it, try upgrading your skills. Try to obtain relevant certifications so that your chances of professional advancements increase. Or, these certifications could also land you up to a job better suited for you. Hence, you will end up with more job satisfaction, better performance and positive appraisals.


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