What are some tips to manage anxiety about a performance review?

This blog answers: What are some tips to manage anxiety about a performance review? What are some other ways to manage performance review anxiety? What are the therapy options for performance review anxiety?

What are some tips to manage anxiety about a performance review? 

Some tips to manage anxiety before a performance review are:

Train yourself

As you are nearing the date of the performance review, try and prepare and train yourself for the review by reaching out to a senior or supervisor.

Ask them what is to be expected from the review. You can also ask your supervisor about the relevant topics that the review might focus on.

By asking this question you can have a better understanding of what the performance review will feel like and the topics they will focus on and prepare accordingly based on your strengths and weaknesses. 

Be open to feedback

One way to manage anxiety about a performance review is to be open to feedback. When the people reviewing you understand that you are open to feedback, they also view you in a better light.

Positive feedback will help you understand what is expected for the future and where you can improve. You can use this information to gain more success in the long run.

Keep in mind the purpose of the performance review

While preparing for the review try and understand that there is a purpose for the review. Knowing that there is a purpose helps to manage the anxiety.

It is possible that your supervisor or your senior manager just wants to make use of the opportunity to offer you feedback and celebrate your strengths.

You can then make use of this feedback to navigate challenges for the future and use the positive feedback as a reward or incentive for yourself. This will help ease out anxiety for future reviews.

Have goals in your mind

Before going for a performance review have goals for yourself, which you may want to discuss with your supervisor. It can help structure the review and lead you towards a growth-oriented path.

Having goals for yourself can also show your supervisor that you are growth-oriented and want to invest in your own future by improving through feedback. 

Have confidence-building strategies

In addition to preparation, be confident and open to constructive strategies. Use the review to reflect on all your achievements and all your mistakes that were brought up during the feedback session.

This can lead to improvement in the future. After the review, have a list of successes and achievements and have a list of areas that you want to improve on.

You can even give a time frame to this as it can help approach your next performance review with more assurance and more confidence.

What are some tips to complete a performance review successfully?

Some tips to carry out a successful performance review are:

Set an agenda

It is important to be ready with a conversation that you would like to carry out with your supervisor. It gives individuals enough time to prepare for a possible conversation.

Establish a dialogue

Individuals must not underestimate the value of a two-way dialogue. People must give inputs on their conversation with their supervisor and their own performance.

Keep an open mind

People need to have an open mind while they are on the receiving end of the feedback. It is very crucial to positively take in constructive feedback.

Ask questions

The following feedback is an opportunity for people to ask questions about their reviews. People must try and ask all the possible questions to get more insight into their supervisor’s perspective and expectations.

What are some other ways to manage performance review anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for performance review anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Performance reviews are crucial as they offer space for learning and feedback that is both positive and constructive.

Through the feedback, employees develop inside into their strengths and weaknesses and what exactly it is that is expected of them.

Naturally, then it is understandable to feel anxious before these reviews.

Keep in mind that there is a purpose for the review and that the purpose of it is not negative but to improve for the future. Be prepared, be open to feedback, and be confident and things should go your way! 

Frequently asked questions: What are some tips to manage anxiety before a performance review?

What should you not say in a performance review?

Some things people must avoid saying in a performance review are:

  • Do not answer in extremes. Using extremes can give off the impression that you want to argue and are not open to learning.  
  • Never try to prove a point.
  • Avoid using words like “always” and “never” during employee appraisals or performance reviews.

What should I say in a performance review?

  • Talk about your achievements and strengths
  • Speak about the things you found difficult and ways to improve
  • Mention the new skills you’ve developed and how it has helped you 
  • Ask about company development and how the company has been doing 
  • Give the panel some feedback on your experience in the workplace and also about the tools and equipment that have been given to you by the company
  • Ask questions about future expectations for the company

Should I quit after a bad review?

A poor performance review might leave you feeling confused and sad and wondering if your best decision is to quit your job.

However, it is normal to feel that way and unless your boss has specifically mentioned it, it is best not to jump to any conclusions. 



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