Receiving a Negative Performance Review

One of the hardest things for us to do is humble ourselves to the point of listening when people are pointing out our failures or inadequacies (or their perception of them). But learning how to do this in a consistent and godly way is critical to our spiritual growth. God’s loving sovereignty regularly places us in a position to practice this humility, one of which could be a review of our job performance.

In the course of our employment, we are faced with negative feedback at one time or another. This is a normal part of the working world in which we live. Most of this positive or negative reaction comes during a scheduled job performance review. The details of the performance evaluation may or may not be factual and we may even disagree with the message. It may even be a deliberate attempt to falsely accuse us of poor performance to discredit us, but then again there may be some truth to the message that we need to hear. We need to be open to this. The accuracy of facts or perceptions can be addressed at a more appropriate time if necessary. The most critical thing during a performance review is the initial reaction and response. Now, some of you may never, or rarely, receive any type of formal job performance review. It may be more of an informal or “spur of the moment” discussion. The setting or format doesn’t matter. What matters is that your initial response will quickly reveal your desire or ability to receive correction.

Many proverbs speak to this biblical principle, one of which is Proverbs 5:12-13: “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.” In applying this concept to our workplace, we must first identify the reason we resist instruction and correction. We naturally resist or hate instruction and spurn reproof because of our prideful, sinful hearts. We will also ignore, devalue, or minimize the instruction we are given to justify our rebellion. In following our own wisdom and passions, we eventually find ourselves in a dire situation. Such is the case in Proverbs 5.


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Brad Payne
President – College Golf Fellowship, Dallas Theological Seminary Board Member