Top Reasons Why Your Manager is Afraid of Your Performance Review

Written by Angela Scannella  |  07. May 2012

Top Reasons Why Your Manager is Afraid of Your Performance Review   by Angela Scannella

A lot of companies stopped their performance review processes when the economy took a turn for the worse.  Now that the economy is starting to turn around for the better, it is a good time to start taking a look at the performance review process.  Some managers are actually frightened when it comes to this process.  Here are the top reasons that call for concern:

Your manager has never conducted a performance review before.

 It is his/her first time and he/she has never been trained on the performance review process.  Is my manager going to “wing it”?  Have faith.  Most managers are more nervous than the employee receiving the review.  Give your manager a chance to give you their feedback.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Let your manager know what your career goals are.

Your manager doesn’t know what you do. 

He/she doesn’t know your job and what you do at work all day.  All he/she knows is that you get it all done.  Job description?  If you don’t have a job description then make one.  If you have one, keep it updated.  Most job descriptions are outdated.  Are your job responsibilities exactly the same as when you first started the job?  Chances are some have changed and your job description doesn’t match up.  Keeping this updated will also help your manager know your responsibilities.

Your manager is not prepared for your performance review. 

Not only does he/she not observe your work but your manager doesn’t prepare for the review process.  Make sure you know when you should expect a performance review.  Your manager should set an appointment with you ahead of time.  This appointment should be free from interruptions.  Let your manager lead the discussion.  Don’t discuss co-worker’s performance.  This is your time with your manager about your performance.

If you’re the manager - Preparing for a review can take up some time, but the benefits of the performance review outweigh the administrative work.  Once a manager has completed the performance review for one employee, it makes it easier to complete the reviews for the rest of the team.  Also, once the employee has been through the process one time, he or she will know what to expect for the future.


Your performance review is going to be a surprise to you.  You haven’t received any feedback all year about your performance, so your annual review is going to be a surprise.  Talk about managerial effectiveness!  Sound like your manager?  Perhaps you should spend some more “one on one” time with your manager throughout the year instead of once a year.  This forces your manager to know what you are working on instead of him/her guessing.  Sure you may feel like your manager should be taking care of this, but do you really want your review to be a surprise?

I don’t trust the system

If the performance reviews are not conducted consistently it can cause a lack of trust in the system (Lyster & Arthur 2007).  If employees do not receive their performance reviews, they may think that their performance is unimportant to the manager and the company.  This is de-motivating and is the opposite of what the purpose of conducting the performance review is supposed to do – motivate the employee.  Keep the system consistent and fair.

What’s the purpose of the performance review anyway?

There are several reasons to have a performance review process in an organization.  The number one reason is to motivate employees.  If employees have an understanding of how they have been performing, then they can be motivated to improve (Lloyd 2009).  Without this feedback employees will not know how they are performing.  The performance review can also be a tool to educate the employee, coach the employee, clarify performance expectations, promote the employee’s self awareness, increase managerial effectiveness, reinforce company values, and to establish the goals for the employee (Lloyd 2009).  There are many benefits to having a performance review process.  The employees become motivated and perform better, management accomplishes goals of the department better and the company gets a return on its investment in its employees.  It’s a win-win situation for all.  Are you ready for your performance review?



Lloyd, Ken.  Performance Appraisals & Phrases For Dummies.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc. 2009

Lyster, Stephanie & Arthur, Anne.  199 Pre-Written Employee Performance Appraisals.  Ocala, FL: Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc. 2007

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