I took a team transfer 5 months ago, and it was agreed with my current manager that I would work for the next generation of products. Then, 2 months ago this manager announced he is leaving.
To prepare for the transition, the VP R&D organized a meeting with our team except for the manager. He qualified my manager quitting "not a great loss". My colleague was announced as the manager responsible for the next-gen product (not team manager), as we would try to hire a new one. He said he did not like the previous policy to monopolize product information with the manager and that the whole team should have a general view of the project.
Fast forward one week, I was not invited for a meeting concerning the product, but I went anyway (it is acceptable in my company). There, I learnt some new details about the product and added a couple of suggestions.
I scheduled a conversation with the VP to discuss being invited to the these meetings and where I could offer my expertise. He totally agreed with me, asked if I was interested in the team manager position, which I said not for the moment and praised my professional skills.
In the following three weeks, I was not invited to two meetings of the product. Just before the second meeting, I talked to my manager and he reported to "not know why I was not invited". The meeting description clearly stated: "(feel free to add people who might be interested)".
I went to the meeting anyway, and as soon as the VP saw me arriving he stated "maybe we should invite more people from the team". To which I replied, "yes, I think one colleague would be interested, maybe we should invite our team (which would be to add 2 people)".
And then the discussion went downhill, with statements from the VP "we cannot invite everybody", "some people need to work". I said that myself was not invited to the meeting, and if that is how it works, I would leave. He tried to say "no", but I left anyway.
I had a meeting with my manager after this discussion, and he explained how his management works. I countered exemplifying other projects of same complexity having at least two people invited to all meetings (excluding the manager), and that I think I could be this second person. He agreed, and I am invited to all meetings up to now. I thought the discussion was closed.
This week, he is conducting annual reviews of performance prior to his departure. He praised my technical skills but graded my interaction with my colleagues as 2/5, saying that I have to be careful on how to address them, no further details. Close colleagues said it is probably due to the incident with him and the VP. It is important to mention that once signed, the review has a legal value in my country.
I have the following options:
Consider it my fault, don't add new remarks from my side and sign it.
Talk to the manager and say that I find the remark untimely, and that I thought everything was sorted out after the last conversation I had with him. However, that would mean that his remarks and grading would have to be reviewed.
Add my side of the facts in the employee's remarks part, but that would require re-discussing everything with my manager, maybe with the VP present. It might be stressful and counter-productive.
Postponing the final signed version to next year, using the present one as a draft. I don't really like this option, because it would mean everything will be re-discussed with the new manager. What do you think?