Performance review anxiety is as much a part of the December season as mince pies and dodgy Christmas songs. But it doesn't have to be that way. Find out what makes it worse - and a top tip for handling it.
Do you have your annual performance review coming up? Dreading it? You're not alone. Your boss might be, too!
Did you know that over 95% of line managers have never had training in how to run annual appraisals (beyond reading internal policies and procedures) so that they become an effective tool for personal development and performance growth? And most HR teams haven't had training in this either,
This means that far too many leaders are still relying on harmful, out-dated concepts like the sandwich, or implementing flawed company policies like everyone needing to have some negative feedback, to improve.
Our research also shows that the vast majority of line managers find the process stressful, and worry that they are getting it wrong, potentially causing harm. And if those line managers are running Imposter Syndrome themselves, this makes them worry even more, projecting their inner pain onto team members, accidentally making the appraisal process more stressful for everyone.
Line managers get performance review anxiety, too.
For 72% of recipients of feedback, it triggers stress and worry. That figure is nearly 100% for those running Imposter Syndrome (nearly two thirds of your team members at the moment)...
*** even if the feedback is positive ***
I define Imposter Syndrome as "the secret fear of others judging us the way we judge ourselves."
Those running Imposter Syndrome are subconsciously putting a lot of energy into criticising themselves, and are scared others are criticising them, too. So you can imagine how this kicks off performance review anxiety in a big way.
Even positive feedback is a problem for someone running Imposter Syndrome, because 71% of people are waiting for the 'but', listing options for this in their heads, instead of accepting the praise. For 46% they'll actually say the 'but' out loud. And with 51% of people, they take 'constructive criticism' really personally and put a lot of energy into worrying about it.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't give feedback to those running Imposter Syndrome. But it does mean you need to know how to do this in the right way, and safely.
Done the wrong way, feedback - especially 'constructive criticism' can be harmful.
But there are ways to give 'constructive criticism' that don't actually involve any 'criticism', which are proven to improve performance, leaving the recipient feeling confident and inspired.
It's why I offer consulting for organisations on this, helping them to Imposter-Syndrome-proof their performance review processes and offering training to both line managers and their direct reports. Let me know if you'd like to talk about working together on this.
It might too late for this year's reviews. But actually the best time to start this work is in January - performance reviews should never be an end-of-year surprise.
What Can You Do About Performance Review Anxiety?
74% of people in our research said they find the weeks leading up to their annual review really stressful.
And if that includes you, and you're experiencing performance review anxiety, I've got a gift for you:
It's a breathing technique that helps you to get grounded and to reduce worry in under sixty seconds - you can listen to an audio to guide you through it here.
For next year, techniques like celebrating your #microwins daily and clearing out Imposter Syndrome can make a big difference. Ditching Imposter Syndrome guides you through exactly how to do that, and you can get your copy here.
In a time when 23% of employees in the UK are thinking about quitting their job due to stress, burnout or Imposter Syndrome every single week, and leave-of-absence / sabbatical requests are at an all-time high, the way we run annual reviews needs to change. We need to look at the three pillars that create thriving teams - culture, environment and performance, and train managers to give performance feedback in ways that are proven to empower and inspire. Here's where to book a call to talk about working together on this next year.
But if your appraisal is in the next couple of weeks, you won't have time for that. So here are some quick tips:
Three Top Tips For Line Managers To Reduce Performance Review Anxiety
Three Top Tips For Employees To Reduce Performance Review Anxiety
And if you're on the receiving end of a performance review, remember, this is your chance to ask your manager for the personal development training you deserve!
If ditching Imposter Syndrome is a priority for you in the coming year, you can ask your company to fund your place on the Imposter Syndrome Bootcamp. Details are here: https://www.clarejosa.com/impostersyndromebootcamp/
And if you want to know your Imposter Syndrome score (plus get a personalised action plan) so you've got something to wave under your manager's nose to back up your request, here's where to take my free science-backed Imposter Syndrome scorecard:
Here's where to book a call to discuss working together on this.