Reeeeally bad annual review... please hold my hand

(50 Posts)
maggiethemagpie Fri 15-Apr-16 21:44:48

I had my annual review on Wednesday and it did not go well. Although I got an 'achieved' rating for the actual work, there was some negative feedback from some senior internal clients which was really upsetting.

I work in an internal consultancy role and have been there for 2 years, everything has always been fine before and I have had nothing but praise in the past.

I haven't changed the way I work AFAIK but suddenly I am being told that I'm bossy, pushy opinionated and forceful. Really personal comments without examples to back them up. I am a strong, confident and decisive person and this has always been a strength in the past but now it seems like it is ruffling feathers big time.

Why are they telling me this now, surely if I'd been like this from the start they would have told me earlier?

My boss has been ok about it, quite supportive, but says I need to sort it out. I need to meet with the senior clients to discuss what their expectations of me are going forward.

At my last review 6 months ago I was the golden girl with great feedback coming from all angles so I'm not sure quite how this has happened....it's really upset me but I've tried to be ultra professional and say I'll take it all on board.

Any advice emotional or practical?

LavenderDoll Fri 15-Apr-16 21:47:38

I would ask for examples of behaviours
Would also ask for help setting strategy to move forward
Would ask for feedback at the time of any incident instead of waiting for a review. AFAIK a review isn't the time to spring stuff on people it shouldn't have come as a shock.

I would also mention the great review 6 months ago and query what had changed

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 15-Apr-16 21:47:54

Gosh, are they new clients? Just wondering because if you haven't changed if it's new clients maybe it's just them who don't click with you for some reason?

I hate the term "bossy" being used li,e this. Would a man be told he's bossy?

LavenderDoll Fri 15-Apr-16 21:48:42

Also don't be bearing yourself up - this can be turned around - if you had a glowing review 6 months ago then things can't be as bad as they may seem

RaeSkywalker Fri 15-Apr-16 21:51:38

I'm gobsmacked that they've waited until your annual review to share this! Did you ask for the reason why they've changed their opinion in the last 6 months? I feel for you OP flowers

maggiethemagpie Fri 15-Apr-16 21:52:11

No, they are not new clients. I've worked for them for 2 years. However, the company is in the doo-doo financially and they are under a LOT of pressure at the moment so could that be why they have changed their opinion of me?

tribpot Fri 15-Apr-16 21:54:19

Very sorry to read this, I can understand why you've found it so upsetting.

However, it mainly speaks poorly of your line manager. First point - no-one should ever hear negative feedback for the first time in the annual review (unless perhaps it happened the day before), it should be tackled as soon as it occurs. Second point - he/she hasn't asked for any evidence, so is essentially passing on gossip to you and not defending you to the nay sayer. And third point, his/her solution is that 'you need to sort it out'. How helpful.

I once had to have a massive row with a line manager who disliked me, who tried to mark me down in my appraisal despite the fact all the documented feedback I had was outstanding. He produced vague stories he'd heard to back his assertions up and I refused to sign the appraisal with unsubstantiated claims in it. (As you can imagine, this line manager and I got on like a house on fire, not).

I think by all means go and see the senior clients and say you're concerned if they've identified problems in your performance but frankly (don't say this bit to them) it sounds like some sexist old git who doesn't like the fact you're a competent woman with opinions of your own. And there's no way for you to change that.

See what the feedback is when you approach the clients, I will be very surprised if the guilty party has the bollocks to repeat it to your face. And if no-one will, I think you need to ask your line manager to strike it from the appraisal.

Don't take it all to heart, see if there is constructive feedback you can use in the future but fight the urge to believe all the negative criticism.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 15-Apr-16 21:56:57

Very bad practice to raise issues at an annual appraisal. There should be nothing in it that's a surprise.

Ask for specific examples. Also ask why the issues were not raised before.

I'd also start looking for another job. If they are having problems as you say they may be looking to save a few quid on redundancy by getting rid of you by other means.

Of course they might have a point. You might have got too cocky after the last very positive review but if that were the case there should be specific examples. The fact they have not come up with some is worrying.

Chorltonswheelies422 Fri 15-Apr-16 21:58:05

There should never be any surprises in an annual review. If your work isn't to the expected standard, you should expect immediate constructive feedback.

You should absolutely ask for examples. Tbh sounds like they are engineering a path - what has changed since your last golden review?

As pp said, bossy should never be used as a term of feedback.

maggiethemagpie Fri 15-Apr-16 22:02:04

To be fair, if the senior clients didn't tell my manager before she asked them for feedback, I can't blame her. They should have flagged it earlier if it was a major concern.

I suppose I'll just have to go and eat humble pie with a side order of corporate spotted dick. I think my problem is that I'm very assertive and confident and with senior people this can be grating if it comes across like I think I'm better than them. I don't, but I'm employed to give expert advice so of course I will know more tan they do on occasions that's my job.

If I'm going to be too clever for my own good I need to be a little bit cleverer so I learn how to hide it IYSWIM.

StealthPolarBear Fri 15-Apr-16 22:04:59

" I am being told that I'm bossy, pushy opinionated and forceful. "
I simply can't imagine a man getting this feedback. They're putting you in your place.

maggiethemagpie Fri 15-Apr-16 22:06:10

Not sure it's a man/woman thing Stealth. They're both women.

StealthPolarBear Fri 15-Apr-16 22:07:57

I'm sure they are but can you imagine them telling a man he's too bossy?
If you say you can ill take your word for it I promise smile

OooLookShoes Fri 15-Apr-16 22:08:10

What stealth said

If you were called Dave they wouldn't be saying that

CoolforKittyCats Fri 15-Apr-16 22:09:44

I simply can't imagine a man getting this feedback. They're putting you in your place.

Unless you know the sex of the reviewers you can't say that.

maggiethemagpie Fri 15-Apr-16 22:09:58

Well I was a woman at the last review and wasn't told I was bossy then so still doesn't explain why they've changed.

StealthPolarBear Fri 15-Apr-16 22:10:28

Can and have smile

StealthPolarBear Fri 15-Apr-16 22:11:55

No it doesn't explain why they've changed
that is odd. Unless it is to do with the finance. You're probably the best judge if that.

maggiethemagpie Fri 15-Apr-16 22:16:11

Do you think it's possible to ruffle someone's feathers and suddenly they start seeing everything you've done in a negative light?

CotswoldStrife Fri 15-Apr-16 22:18:44

Whatever project you worked with them on last - is it possible that they felt you didn't listen to their side or take their points/issues on board before suggesting a solution? It sounds a bit more than a disagreement, more that they felt ignored at some point.

Agree with PP that the appraisal/review is not the place to bring up new issues.

StealthPolarBear Fri 15-Apr-16 22:21:01

Yws or they've cherry picked or pit a slant on feedback. What might have been "decisive and asserive" a year ago has become bossy.

maggiethemagpie Fri 15-Apr-16 22:24:23

I know that one of them wanted me to work with her on a letter she was writing after a case, this is part of my job, but then I'm basically correcting a senior person's letter and I think it can be difficult to do that without coming across as patronising.

Her letter was full of the conversations that had taken place after the meeting as in
And then I said x
And then you said y

For two pages. Which is not the best way to do things and I suggested an alternative way would be to take the detail out of the letter attach the notes and reference them. It is part of my job to advise on how to do this so I was not stepping out of my remit.

But, apparantly she didn't like this as it was one of the few examples given, she said it was an example of when I'd been insistent and not listened to her saying she didn't want to do that. I don't remember being insistent but that's clearly her impression.

So because she wrote a crap letter I got a crap review?

I need to learn to play the politics game better don't i

StealthPolarBear Fri 15-Apr-16 22:27:46

I've had a similar situation recently, where I've been asked to comment on a document my company has commissioned another two write. I have a specific set of skills and so there were obvious sections that were in my remit. But the while document (from the basic purpose and structure) needed a lot of work, and I didn't know whether to point that out. I did, and hopefully it has been taken as intended. Time will tell.
might this be a clash of personalities? Do you think she wanted a yes-man (yes-woman) or is she usually open to some criticism.

StealthPolarBear Fri 15-Apr-16 22:28:40

Another TO write
obviously my spelling corrections were filed in the bin!

maggiethemagpie Fri 15-Apr-16 22:33:28

Good job I didn't get my hands on your letter Stealth!
My person has always banged on in the past about how great my letter writing skills saying how well I write, are so that's why I was surprised this came up. Sounds like maybe she felt threatened that I was criticising her letter, I tried to do it in a nice way and I don't remember being insistent but I think every time I saw she'd put another chunk of transcript in I must have mentioned it and it came across that I am pushy.

I know she was then fishing with her team whether I'd been pushy with them as I'm friends with one of them who told me she'd been asking for feedback, although my friend gave me good feedback. But once they start looking for something they will find it I think.

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