10 Things NOT to say at a Review


Spring is a time when many people have their annual review so here is a list to help you keep your job and maybe even get that promotion.

Many companies do 360 reviews, which gives you a chance to review your line managers and bosses and can be a very constructive exercise for everyone but remember, this is a time to keep your guard up.

In many companies you will be given time to prepare for your review, you might even be given things to consider or questions to answer beforehand. Make sure you spend time thinking and preparing for the meeting, it’s a time to be engaged and discuss your future.

Remember who pays your salary, who you need to impress and keep your cool, you should be allowed to digest any information and come back with your feedback at a later date. Just breath, take your time and think before you speak, especially if you tend to be hot headed.

Here are 10 things that you should never say…

“That is not my responsibility”

Managers want helpful and capable people who will do whatever needs doing to reach the common team or company goal, regardless of whose job description it appears in. People who are more concerned about shirking responsibility than rolling their sleeves up and getting the job done, even the menial tasks, will never progress and might not even keep their job.

“If you think I’m bad, you should see …”

Never ever point fingers or be disrespectful to others, it doesn’t put you in the best light and shows you to be an individual, not a team player.

“I want a pay rise”

Never expect to progress quickly and be careful measuring yourself against others, you might not see the gaps in your own skills or knowledge. It can take almost 2 years to add any real value to a role or company, this is why people look unfavourably on people who jump from job to job too quickly.

Do not expect a pay rise too soon or if you or the team are not hitting KPI’s or targets and remember it’s always best to ask for more responsibility not more money.

To add value to a company you have to do 1 of 3 basic things.

1 Sell something that makes the company money

2 Buy something or implement procedures that saves the company money

3 Save time so other people can either sell or save the company money

On top of that, the company has to be making a good profit in order to give any pay or bonus increases, just because you have been at the company for a period of time, or because it’s been a year since your last review do not expect a pay rise.

Ask yourself, Is the company going through a period of change or growth, are they ploughing money into the business, what is the market rate for the role you do, can someone else do your job better or for less than you are currently paid?

Think long and hard before you ask for a pay rise or you might simply be shown the door.

If you truly think the company is in a position to offer an increase, if you, the team and the company overall is hitting target and making a healthy profit then think about how you can prove that you are adding value. Think of examples and state them, say I am enjoying what I do and have achieved x,y,z, what more can I do to help the business and what do I need to do to step up to the next level?

‘I’m bored and I’m going to leave unless …’

This is a slap in the face, an insult to your line manager and the company in general. It’s an easy way to destroy trust and support and might even start the recruitment process to replace you.

Think about what you want and what will make your role more fulfilling, could you improve your own efficiencies if you had some help or were able to pass other areas of the role you are not so good at to others. What have you got to offer, what would be the benefit to the company, not just to you as an individual?

If there are efficiencies, savings or profit to be made then list out your ideas, your boss will listen. If you really are bored and unhappy then maybe it is time to move on.

‘You should have told me before’

This does not add anything constructive, look forward not back, and accept the feedback, state how you are going to try and improve things and look to the future.

‘You’re wrong’

Some companies offer and encourage a 360 review but be careful not to appear too critical, defensive and stroppy, think before you speak and try not to offend any individuals, the team, brand, company or policies. You’re or That’s wrong is not the best thing to tell your boss, even if you do think it, keep calm and simply make suggestions not criticisms, calmly say how you think things could be improved.

‘That wasn’t my fault’

Especially if said with a raised voice will make you look small, petty and defensive. Keep calm and think, do they have a point, if you are unsure ask for examples so you can think about it and work on it in the future. Not accepting blame can seem as if you do not want to take responsibility but remember someone usually has to. Instead of trying to pass the buck, think about what you can all learn and how you can do things differently next time. We all make mistakes, to progress, we need to learn from them and move on.

‘That is who I am, I can’t change’

Managers like people who will grow, change and develop as the opportunities arise. Think rock or sponge, if you are a rock and not interested in learning they will not help you but if you are a sponge and willing to absorb new ideas, grow and progress they will help you reach your potential.

‘That’s ****ocks’

Swearing might be acceptable in some environments but it’s never a good idea at a review, it just makes you look aggressive, defensive and small minded, keep your cool and be professional. Also never say slang terms like ‘whatever!’ or ‘do I look bothered?’ This will simply make you sound like a stroppy teenager and show your lack of professionalism and team spirit.

‘I know I’m great’

If you are getting a pat on the back, it is never good to gloat, just accept the praise and move on, always ask if there is anything else you can do to improve, remember rock or sponge.

Although you need to keep your guard up, saying nothing is almost as bad as saying any of the idiotic comments above. If you appear through your words, body language or expressions to not care either on a daily basis or at a review then that is the impression you will leave your boss with.

For a company to work they need an engaged and hardworking team who pull together for the benefit of all, not an unreceptive, disengaged or aggressive team. There is always someone else who can do your job and if they can do it better, cheaper or quicker think about how you can improve to make sure you keep yours.