7 things that you should never say in performance reviews

7 things that you should never say in performance reviews

Millennials hate performance reviews. Yet reviews continue to be a part of many organizations where every employee has to go through with the process. Not everyone is thrilled due to some of the negative aspects attached to it. It is natural for employees to get nervous and inadvertently say things they normally wouldn’t. We have compiled a list of statements and questions that MUST be categorically avoided in performance reviews.

7 things that you should never say in performance reviews:

1. Why should I have done it if it was not my responsibility?

Although it may not have been your responsibility, there is a tactful way of expressing your sentiment. If you start speaking defensively, the message that goes out is you are trying to cover up for shirking your responsibilities. Managers have multiple direct reports, so at times it gets difficult for them to keep track of who is responsible for what parts of the work.

In such cases, if you are wrongly accused of not performing tasks that you weren’t supposed to, take a stand. Be assertive, firm yet polite when explaining how this was not a part of your action list and should have been taken care of by those responsible for it.

On a side note, if it is within your skill set, it is prudent to help out your teammates without compromising on your responsibilities. Some day, they too can help you out wherever possible and return the favor.

2. I worked harder than my teammates so why does he/she get all the credit?

Working harder than your teammates does not automatically make you liable to get all the credit. Comparison of who is working harder can be quite subjective. The real question is, who is consistently getting results and delivering as expected? Your teammate may not be working harder but smarter and thus getting more done in lesser amount of time. e.g. this kind of situation usually arises with skilled salespeople who appear to be more successful than some of their harder working teammates.

You need to determine to what extent your goals are achieved and then put forward your case. The competition with your teammates should be healthy where you push each other to achieve more success. In the end, it is the entire team that is going to benefit out of this collaboration.

3. It wasn’t me but really my team’s efforts.

Okay yes, it may have been a team effort. But when you are being specifically appreciated for all your efforts, acknowledge that compliment. It means your manager has spotted that extra bit of effort or creativity that you put in your work. By giving the entire credit to your team you are doing 2 things:

  • One is you are undermining your manager’s judgement
  • Second is you are sabotaging your own chances of growth

Upon being complimented, thank your manager and assure them that you intend to maintain this enthusiasm level in all your endeavors.

4. But isn’t this what you said/did/wrote?

When you say things like, “but this is what you said or did or wrote” you are accusing your manager of saying, doing or writing something and then not delivering as suggested.

You do not want to argue with your colleagues (definitely, not with the manager) but communicate with them about the misunderstanding of expectations that were set. Instead you could say, “I believe there is some confusion as this is much different compared to what we had discussed”. Also, due to exactly these situations, it is best to document all expectations carefully so that they can be recalled whenever required to clear the confusion.

5. Shouldn’t I get a raise now?

Performance review is not conducted for you to demand a raise. Instead it is an opportunity for you to demonstrate how your performance helped the team and subsequently the company. Your actions should prove why you deserve a raise. When you meet your goals and exceed expectations, you are able to show your value to the organization.

Of course, if the manager still does not acknowledge your accomplishments, then it is definitely time to move on to places where your skills and efforts are better appreciated.

6. What about A or B’s performance?

Your performance reviews are specifically about your performance and not your colleagues’. How they have faired during this review period does not concern you. If you ask such questions, it gives out the message that you are trying to pull down your colleagues and shows you in a negative light. Your manager may also get the impression that you are trying to avoid the real issues or putting the blame on others for your shortcomings.

If you have any concerns about your teammates or their performance then discuss it separately with your manager in a professional and ethical manner. You are not trying to throw them under the bus but simply getting everyone to follow the same set of standards.

7. It is not something I’m good at so avoid it actively.

Statements like these show that you are not willing to take up challenges and want to stay in your comfort zone. But you cannot grow and develop without getting out of this zone. You need to take on challenges and responsibilities no matter how much they scare you. That is, you need to get out of the fixed mindset and develop a growth mindset if you want to succeed in your career.

Once you accept these challenges, your manager will be more than happy to help you whenever and wherever you get stuck.

To take this further, we’ve also collated a list of phrases helpful in performance reviews. Let us know if we’ve missed out on any.