Legal Career Tips: Preparing for a Performance Review (Part Two) -- Dealing With Negative Feedback

So, what happens when you've prepared in advance for your annual performance review and submitted your list of major accomplishments to your manager, as we addressed in Part One of this blog post, but the feedback you receive from your legal manager is less stellar than you anticipated? A little criticism is to be expected in any job performance review, so try not to let it get you down. Here are three tips for dealing with negative feedback:

1. Get specific. Set emotion aside and ask your manager for more details so you’ll know precisely what you need to focus on going forward. For example, if your review states that your contract negotiation skills are weak, ask your legal manager to identify exactly which aspects of the process need refining.

2. Offer ways to improve. Avoid reacting defensively by making excuses or blaming others. Instead, after a few days of reflection, come up with ideas for how to improve your performance. Share those ideas with your manager, who may have other suggestions or even the resources for professional development.

3. Seek more feedback. To make sure you and your legal manager are on the same page, you may need to check in more often. Suggest more frequent one-on-ones so that you can correct your course at the first sign of a problem instead of at the end of the project -- and risk having to do it all over again.

While low scores can be hard to swallow, with a little effort, you can turn these critiques into positive outcomes and still get ahead in your legal career.

Tags: Legal Jobs