This is the Most Brutal Performance Review Ever Written


Geno Smith, a former star quarterback at West Virginia University, just took the biggest blow of his athletic career. It was a tackle so severe, it probably left him gasping for air and crawling to the sideline.

Who knew a sportswriter could hit like that?

As Smith prepares for the 2013 NFL Draft on April 25, Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki gave him the most brutal scouting report in league history.

‘Not a student of the game. Nonchalant field presence — does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire. Mild practice demeanor — no urgency. Not committed or focused — marginal work ethic. Interviewed poorly at the Combine and did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board. Opted not to compete at the Senior Bowl and has approached offseason training as if he has already arrived and it shows in his body with minimal muscle definition or strength … Needed to be coddled in college — cannot handle hard coaching.’

For most of us, a negative performance review feels like a swift punch to the gut. Nawrocki on Smith? More like a wrecking ball through fine China. Nawrocki makes the quarterback – who threw 42 touchdowns last season – seem like an petulant eight-year-old who would rather pick daisies than offensive plays.


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Smith, as you would expect, responded to the claims. ‘It’s untrue in all things,’ he said.

Fair or foul, the critique is out there, and Smith has to live with the damage to his reputation. Even the best employees can’t avoid a negative review from time to time. What’s the best way to handle it?

These tips from around the Web should help.

1. Stay calm (Wall Street Journal)

‘If you’ve received negative feedback about your job performance, don’t panic. The first step to recovering is to digest the news with poise. While it’s natural to feel defensive or angry during a bad review, career coaches advise against acting on these emotions to avoid making matters worse.’

2. Ask how you can improve (NBC)

‘If you’re falling short of your boss’s expectations, then guess who the best person to ask for advice is? That’s right — your boss! Just because he gave you a bad review doesn’t make him the enemy. Ask him for advice on how to improve for the next time. That will not only help you improve your rating at the next review, it will improve your relationship with your boss.’

performance review
Geno Smith received the roughest performance review ever as he prepares for the NFL draft. What’s the best way to handle criticism from your own boss? Here are four tips to help you through it.

3. Clear the air with your boss (Lifehacker)

‘Let your boss know that you’re serious about improving your performance, that you’re honestly surprised by the review, and you don’t want to be caught blindsided again. It may sound painful, but a good way to get regular feedback from your boss on how you’re doing is to nag them for a one-on-one meeting on a regular basis.’

4. Don’t quit based on one bad review (Career Bright)

‘Bosses come and go. Teams dissolve and the company goes through various reorgs. A bad review does not mean it is time for you to start looking for a new job. Analyze the situation and see if there are some valid points perhaps you can do your best to perform better next time.’

A negative performance review lays bare our faults and forces us to improve much faster than we would on our own. The most successful among us understand how to turn those negatives into an opportunity.

In other words, Geno Smith should stand up, dust himself off and demonstrate to Nolan Nawrocki (and everyone else) that he’s mentally ready for rigors of the NFL.

That’s how you hit back.

How did you handle a negative review at work?

Share below!


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© 2013, Danny Rubin


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