Ideally, you should have at least a vague idea as to whether or not your performance over the last year has been negative or positive, Harris says you should be ready for both outcomes. You’ll want to make sure you always remain calm and rational, even if you feel your manager’s evaluation isn’t accurate or fair. Instead of making excuses or being overly reactive, says Harris, take your prepared evidence of your successes, and make sure you own up to any failures. Be upfront and honest about your take on the review, but do it in a way that doesn’t come off as aggressive or resentful.
If the outcome is positive, then it’s a great time to talk about your professional development. You can’t expect your manager to have your career path lined up, and you need to voice your expectations for your role within the company. “You should be prepared to have a specific conversation about professional development opportunities. This is your chance to ask for the title or promotion you’re hoping for,” says Harris.
Hopefully more companies catch onto the trend of ditching performance reviews, but until that happens, the only thing you can do is be prepared to gain more from your review than where you rank in the company. If you have to go through a performance review that you find stressful, the best thing you can do is be prepared and try to turn it into a conversation that will be motivating rather than demoralizing.