For the second year in a row, one of my directs sobbed continually throughout her performance review. Not because it was a bad performance review - she's actually a very strong performer. Rather, it was because she received a 3 rating (out of 5). Like most organizations, mine has a rating distribution, and 4s and 5s are very hard to come by. I might add that I also gave her an 8% raise, a good bonus, and stock options, the last of which only a certain percentage of 3s receive. She was new to her role last year, and she is still a bit junior. I have others on my team with more tenure, and the one 4 I awarded was an employee who has taken her role to the next level. I tried continually to explain to her that a 3 rating is NOT a bad rating, and it does not mean she is "average." She wasn't hearing it.

The first thing I need to do is calm myself down, because I am so angry that this was her reaction (again). My question is - what do I do next?

timrutter's picture

Firstly, part of this is an issue because of your discomfort Jenny, so when you overcome that (and you're in charge of you!) then the rest becomes a lot easier.

My take on this is that you can approach this with feedback and coaching.

The feedback bit is straightforward, when you do this, that happens, can you work on changing it.

Coaching wise, maybe a talk about what a 3 represents and more importantly, asking why is she behaving in a way that suggests a way more dramatic problem.

This is only a professional behaviour problem, nothing more and you've successfully dealt with them every day so far.

Hope this gives you somewhere to start