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How To Respond to a Bad Review


Businessman sitting in front of a laptop in an office
George Doyle / Stockbyte / Getty Images
Getting a bad performance review can be devastating. Learn how to respond to a negative review.
Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: na

Here's How:

  1. Read your review very carefully. Don't respond immediately.
  2. Take time to determine if the negative review is really unjust or if you're just taking offense at being criticized. If you still feel the review is unjust go to Step 3. If you realize the review is correct go to Step 6.
  3. If you can honestly say that you've received an unfair review, make an appointment to meet with the person who wrote it.
  4. First, acknowledge any points that are correct.
  5. Then use clear examples to contradict those points you feel are untrue. Use a paper trail to back yourself up.
  6. You've realized your reviewer was fair. The truth hurts, but you can use a bad review as a learning experience.
  7. Make an appointment to meet with your boss so you can find out how to improve your performance.
  8. Keep a paper trail of everything you do, beginning with that meeting. You'll want to have evidence of the effort you've made to improve your performance.
  9. If you follow your boss's suggestions, next year's review should be much better.


  1. You must be very objective in determining whether your evaluation is unjust. Take some time to think things through.
  2. Give yourself at least a day to calm down. Nothing gets handled well in the heat of the moment.
  3. Keep in mind that the boss usually wins. It may be worth a shot, but your next step may be job hunting.

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