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Obsessing over your biased performance review? Here are 3 things to consider

Bad performance reviews from your boss can be really daunting. What should you do if this happens to you?

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Did you read this study by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman where he revealed how human decisions are frequently influenced by prejudices, opinions, and intuition rather than facts or reasoning?

Bias creeps into almost every decision-making.

The performance review season has already kicked off, and many employees, despite their best efforts, find biases significantly impact their performance ratings. 

Bad performance reviews can be daunting. What should you do if this happens to you? You can begin looking for a new job, doubt your ability, or take a defensive stance. However, there might be more ways to cope. 

Here are a few:


When you are in a performance review meeting, listen. “Don’t get emotional. Don’t interrupt,” says Pavan Bhatia, co-founder of CareerGPS and former SVP Chief HR officer, Asia Middle East and North Africa at PepsiCo.

Before you act, give yourself some time to cool off. In the moments following the review, you can experience sadness or rage, and you might say something that you’ll come to regret. Hence,  keep your cool. Recognize the performance scale and assess your performance in the light of the scale’s definition with extreme objectivity, Bhatia adds.


One common piece of advice from HR leaders is to look into the specifics and analyze them. “Center the conversation around measurable parameters and be objective. If the objective is intangible, ask for cases where you went wrong and deliberate the situation if you have a different story,” says Krishnan Narayanan, group head of HR at Petrotec.

To comprehend your boss’s expectations, inquire how you could have performed better. Your colleague may have completed a project comparable to this one before. Was that project received better by your employer? Was it completed quicker than anticipated? These questions may enable you to recognize the biases.


Avoiding jumping right into the conversation can be a  smart move. Take a moment to unwind, and then follow up with your boss within two weeks. You can examine your notes during that time and talk with your coworkers. Bring examples of the performance metrics when you meet with your manager again. There is always space for improvement, and you are letting your management know this by giving your judgment significant consideration. Inquire if a reevaluation of the appraisal is possible. 

After your meeting, make sure to follow up. Reiterate everything covered in the conversation in an email to your employer. If you have an improvement plan, put it in writing. “It’s important to remain composed and not let emotion take over your thoughts. If differences cannot be resolved, respectfully disagree and ask for a one-up conversation or with HR involved to get a neutral viewpoint,” says Narayanan. 

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