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?