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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?

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    This is way too long and you're leaving out the actual details that are important. Your main question isn't about any kind of agreement you had but about your performance review and you have not specified why you got an unsatisfactory rating there. What did your manager say to explain that rating? And if this evaluation has legal value please specify a country because that's not the case in the US. – Lilienthal Nov 12 '17 at 19:13
  • @Lilienthal Manager was very generic in the oral performance review about this subject. The only incident related to colleagues during these 4 months I have had in the team is this one. My close colleagues said it was probably this incident. I intend to ask for clarification, should I decide to sign only with further remarks from my side. Country is FR. It is rarely used as a legal proof, but if it goes to a judge, it is generally considered that employee agrees with grading and remarks, except if it is contested in the same document. – user79491 Nov 12 '17 at 19:40
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    @asmith Well your first step should probably be to discuss this review with your manager. It's something you should have done when you first discussed it but that doesn't mean it's too late now. Note that you've created multiple accounts, to merge them please check out this page – Lilienthal Nov 12 '17 at 19:59
  • @Lilienthal I do know that, but at the time I did not have all the dates and events that followed in mind. The draft with these remarks was sent 15min before the meeting. As I said, the discussion for me was closed from the last meeting I had with him, which was one month ago. I think it would had been worse to discuss unprepared than discuss it after he sends me the to be signed version. – user79491 Nov 12 '17 at 20:06
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    @asmith So get those dates. If you don’t agree with the review then your manager should explain their reasoning. However, it might end up, you still don’t agree. – Donald Nov 13 '17 at 13:04
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The most relevant parts of the question here seem to be these two paragraphs:

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)".

This seems like all started well - the VP saw that you were arriving, and it probably jogged his memory that you'd asked to be invited in the past. He followed up and you guys had a discussion about who you should invite. This is all good!

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

...and this is where it all went wrong. It seems like you suggested a few too many people for the VPs liking - and that's fine! He disagreed with what you were saying, and the correct response there would have been one of "sure, that makes sense - where do you think we should draw the line on who to invite?"

But instead of that, you seemed to get angry at the VP, made a snappy remark that you were going to walk out if you didn't get your way (about who to invite), and despite being told to stay, you left anyway.

Forgive me if I've taken a harsher view than the reality here, but it seems you quickly overreacted, started an argument and stormed out of a meeting creating an issue where there wasn't one (and not just at anyone, at the VP.)

Also:

I thought everything was sorted out after the last conversation I had with him.

Good, chances are it is sorted. But it doesn't take away from the fact you made a mistake, and so it's likely that's what's being reflected in your review. You can't expect to apologise for poor performance in a particular area, then expect to be rated top marks on that area because you've apologised.

Unless anything has been written down that's blatantly false, my advice would be to just accept the grading as it is, apologise, and move on.

  • Thanks for the comment. I would like to precise that the comment "we cannot invite everybody" and "people have to work" were done in very harsh way. I confess I was clearly frustrated from the beggining of the story. I am not against having this reflected on the report, but I would like from my side to be also stated. That was why I proposed solution n. 3 – user79491 Nov 13 '17 at 10:39
  • @asmith Totally understand that these things are frustrating, however, in my experience, revisiting the situation to try to add your side to it is only likely to prolong the situation and make matters worse. These sorts of things are, generally speaking, quickly forgotten if they're isolated incidents - so I'd leave it as just that. – berry120 Nov 13 '17 at 12:00
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Ask for clarification. You don't know for sure that the 2 refers to this specific incident. Management needs to provide examples and give you specific feedback about what you need to change.

If the low rating is in fact based on the single incident with the VP, their response will seem weak and be easier to contest.

  • I agree, I think I will talk to my manager. If it is indeed the incident, I will apologize, saying that the matter should have been discussed privately. However I will present my remarks regarding the incident to be written on the annual review. – user79491 Nov 13 '17 at 15:07

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