I have deliberated for hours now. Should I complain, suck it up, or post something about this. Since it still bothering me, I will go ahead and explain my situation here, before I do anything else.

I work in the classic example of Corporate America Company.  It is my first performance review, and I did great.  I had a High Performer appraisal.  However, the following points are really bothering me about my review:

* My mid-year review was better than the actual final result, not for much, but in essence “I walked back”. 

* Every time my manager gave me a smaller result than my self-evaluation, my comments were extensive and followed Manager-tools approach, but his were vague and not specific. So I am unable to pin-point what I can improve.

* He verbally spoke with me for a long period of time, and he told me that I was the best review on his team, but still I felt beat down at the end of the review.

I have until tomorrow to sign the appraisal, but I feel he did not put as much effort as I did. Sometimes I get the sense of competition between him and myself, which is absurd.  Other times, I just get the sense of power trip manager, I just trust him less and less.

I was thinking of escalating my review, but I feel like a boy that got an A- and is complaining to the teacher.  I also thought of going back to him and asking him for better review, but that usually comes back and bites me.

Is there any suggestions?





flexiblefine's picture

This is your first review -- don't worry about it. You don't want to create the impression that you are some type of complainer.

Your manager has told you that yours is the best review on the team, which should be encouraging. His level of diligence is his, and trying to go over his head to get him to provide more detail (or a better review) will make you look like trouble to him.

Go ahead and sign, and see what you can do about talking with him to get specifics for improvement. Remember that the vast majority of managers in the world are not Manager Tools managers -- he may not have specifics to give you.

Don't be in a rush to be labeled a superstar. The rush may get you a completely different label instead.

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DiSC: 1476

jamie_p's picture

In some companies, excellent reviews need to be counterbalanced by subpar reviews within the same team.  This is a difficult decision for managers.    

Your manager's verbal feedback indicates you are doing a great job.  Keep up the good work.

ismanagement's picture

Is behind me now!

Thanks for the excellent feedback.


TNoxtort's picture

How do you feel internally about your work?

It's hard, really hard to not pay attention to reviews, but something you have to realize we can't let seeking their approval drive us. I got the highest of the high rating in 2007. In 2008 and 2009 I got average, and 2010, below average. I think I worked harder in those years, and felt really disappointed. However, so much has changed within the company, getting bought, different supervisors, supervisors who don't pay attention to strengths, etc. And I have to walk out and know I did good things, and no one appreciates it, and maybe it is time to move on.

naraa's picture

IM, I notice you have written the whole situation is behind you now.  Great!  I just wanted to thank you for posting your situation here on the forum so openly.  Thank you.  It certainly helps us understand the directs point of view in this sort of situations and reflect upon reviews we deliver ourselves.  I am sure your boss just wants to get the best out of you.  You cannot improve if you get A, A+ all the time.  Perhaps if you be less defensive about it, your boss will actually be more specific as he/she may be avoiding a discussion which will get nowhere.  Remember also we "judge ourselves by our intend and others by their behaviour" (Manager tools).  You may have all the best intend in all your actions, but there maybe something that when converted into action don´t come across all right, and this is most likely why you are getting some lower evaluation than you think you should. 

Artsmith, I agree one needs to learn to feel good about doing great work regardless of the appraisal that is received.  And above all one should never let a review put someone down as a person.  At the end it is all about work, and work is what we do not what define us.  

Now, within work, reviews are important.  I find that it does help to focus on what these reviews are telling us and not to focus on blaming the others for a bad review we get.  The criticism on our work may not even be accurate or truth, but it is what our bosses are perceiving on the work we are doing.  We see the world through the mask we have on, and they see the world through the mask they have.  If these masks are different both will see different things.

If you think the criticism is not proper, concentrate perhaps on why people are not perceiving your work as good.  What can you change in terms of communication with them, how can you make them pay attention to your strengths, or if that is not possible, perhaps do pay attention to your weaknesses just to improve them a bit and your reviews may be improved?  If so much has changed within the company, perhaps priority have changed as well, and you are putting a lot of effort in something that is not really as important as it used to be before?  Or perhaps your boss is now a High C, pay a lot of attention to detail and your prior boss was say a high I and really thrived on people´s creativity and initiative?  Listen to the podcasts on the disc model.

Sometimes, it is time to move on.  But if you don´t or while you don´t, take the opportunity to grow (personally and professionaly)  from the situation, don´t let it frustrate you.


ismanagement's picture

 Thanks Nara for taking the time to reply to my post. I understand that being defensive will not help me improve, that’s why I am taking special precaution to not come through as defensive.

The whole situation is behind me, I signed my appraisal, and I am going to meet with my manager to address a few things:

1.       I want timely feedback; let me know the things that I am doing wrong early on the year.

2.       I want specific feedback rather than open vague comments.

I am taking upon myself, to build a relationship with my manager.  He does not believe in one on one, he thinks those are therapeutic sessions that are not productive. I am planning to meet with him for 30 minutes every week, and I will call these meetings status updates, these will be my version of one on one.  Hopefully I will start building the relationship that he is neglecting.

If I can’t get one or all these things going, I will start looking for other managers in my department.

Thanks again for the time you took to reply. IM

Mark's picture

Holy frijole sign the bloody thing and get over it. Not signing it was dumb - you may very well have been branded as high maintenance.

You got a good review. You're seeing ghosts. You've only had one review - you don't know enough to judge your manager's effort in this.

Good job over the year! (and stop ruining it! :-) )


stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I kinda disagree with Nara's statement that you can't get A and A+ grades all the time.  You can, my view is that you shouldn't. 

If someone is consistently getting top or near top gradings all the time then (presuming that the grading system is fair and not being gamed/distorted by a nepotistic manager trying to keep their favourites happy and around them) that probably means that the goals set for them are too low.  If possible their manager should be looking to set them more challenging goals (ideally with comensurate rewards), maybe delegating more to them with a view to sucession planning.



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"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


naraa's picture

 Stephen, good points.  We are in agreement.  One can get A, A+ all the time, but cannot improve from that.  Precisely as you say, goals need to be higher for a high achiever.  That is hard for high achievers as they get the sence of never being good enough (but that is a personal issue they have to work on).  If the company (manager) is good, the higher goals also come with, as you say, delegation, and higher responsability which hopefully converts into promotions and higher pay (eventually, sometimes not as soon as some, particularly from the Y generation, would like it).