“I just received by performance review and I was shocked...” I hear it all the time.
Performance reviews should never come as a surprise. If they do...
You may be to blame. I know it hurts, but the first step in identifying the root cause of your shock should start with you. Are you paying attention to the cues your manager is giving you? Are you really “hearing” her or him during one-on-one sessions? Are you keeping a “win file” and actively sharing your successes with your direct report?
Your manager may be to blame. If you are open to – and actively seeking feedback – and not receiving it, then you’ve got a leadership problem. Your manager should be consistently communicating with you about successes and areas of opportunity. He or she should have clear development plan / goals outlined and should be checking in with you frequently about your progress.
Your organization may be to blame. Unfortunately, there are organizations that have “performance surprise” baked right in. Best case scenario (but still really bad): the organization is operating so full-tilt that there simply is no time allotted for critical things like coaching and frequent performance conversations. Worst case scenario: the organizational culture is not employee centric and the company doesn’t truly value its people.
Regardless of where the blame lies, being shocked by your performance review is an indication that something is not working. When all is said and done, you want to be an employee who welcomes and seeks feedback and you want to work for a company that cultivates and promotes talent.