When the boss gets the wrong impression, is there a limit to how hard you should try to fix it?

Question: “I recently had a performance review in which a couple of the things that were said about me were simply untrue. These comments took me completely by surprise, and I realize that in defending myself I probably came off as whiny and was very ineffective. Only now that a week has gone by do I realize exactly what I should have said, and how I should have said it. I got my raise and a decent overall mark, so is it just too late now to state my case? In going back over old ground, would I only make myself look worse no matter if the facts are on my side?” – May, Clerical Trainer

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This post was provided with permission by and originally appeared at BusinessManagementDaily.


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6 thoughts on “When the boss gets the wrong impression, is there a limit to how hard you should try to fix it?”

  1. I had a similar experience with my boss when he made a couple of comments during a mid-year performance appraisal. The comments were difficult for me to hear, but after I thought about them, I went back to him and asked questions until I realized what the issue was. After discussing it, we were both able to go forward with both of us doing some things differently. We do have a much better working relationship because things were discussed in the open and we now have what we call “Teaching Moments”. If either one of us has something we need to clarify or talk about we take care of it at the time. I’ve become a much more confident assistant as a result.

  2. Parminder Chhatwal

    Yes a bad review and a wrong impression takes us by surprise (It has happened to me), but thinking back, i realised that I wouldnt have known this perspective at all if there was no bad review. While we try our best to do our job with perfection, there are so many people judging our work. I guess it is time to introspect and what comes out is that we continue to do our work with honesty and conviction with better style and it should pay off in the future.

  3. Gina Van Dusen

    I think it is worth clarifying both your thoughts (I recommend in an email if you find that it is difficult to not get emotional) and ask your supervisor what gave the incorrect impression. It may be something that you could easily change or discover that there is a gap in your supervisor’s expectations and the job you think you are supposed to be performing. Look at this as an opportunity to strengthen your partnership with your supervisor. Disagreements, if handled correctly, can strengthen any relationship.

  4. Only a week has gone by, so it still makes sense to clarify in a brief, pragmatic manner your thoughts with your boss. Quickly acknowledge what was said, take accountability, and explain what your plan is to improve on those areas. Close by affirming with something positive about your job, your team, etc. Go for it! Communication is the cornerstone to better understanding and ultimately getting what you want.

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