The Defining Weakness on Performance Appraisals

Poor performance in a critical review category can tip the scales negatively.
Poor performance in a critical review category can tip the scales negatively. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

An employee with several degrees and an impressive work history may still fall short in some performance area.The ability to acknowledge perceived weaknesses and work to improve shows a healthy self-image and a willingness to learn. Performance appraisals generally cover performance categories such as quality of work, quantity of work, organization, time management and problem solving. Depending on the job and level within the organization, some defining performance weaknesses may have a greater impact on overall performance rating than others.

Attendance and Tardiness

Showing up for work on time may seem elementary, but it's critical to the productivity and morale of an organization. A manager who shows up late for morning meetings, takes long lunch breaks and leaves early is a poor example to employees who would suffer disciplinary actions for the same behavior. This weakness also disrupts productivity, since an absent manager can't make decisions, contribute ideas or help solve problems.

Sense of Urgency

An employee who's an expert in her field but constantly misses deadlines will have a negative impact on the rest of the work team. A customer service representative may be more concerned with taking a coffee break than resolving an urgent customer request. A sense of urgency demonstrates an employee's care and concern for the company's business over her own. The lack of a sense of urgency in a service provider may be a defining weakness in an otherwise satisfactory performance review.

Inability to Accept Constructive Feedback

A comprehensive performance review includes constructive feedback and action items to improve performance. An employees who insists on ignoring suggestions for improvement or becomes defensive and resists change may become a liability to the company. Taking things personally diminishes an individual's effectiveness. The ability to set aside personal feelings and focus on objectives is a sign of maturity and leadership. This defining weakness can take an otherwise promising employee off the fast track to greater responsibility.


Organizations need to remain flexible to keep up with changes in their industry and the marketplace. In the same way, employees must be flexible and willing to adapt to change quickly and enthusiastically. A manager who won't learn the new computer system or adopt the new casual dress code soon becomes a dinosaur, out of touch with the rest of the team. He may lose the respect of his staff, causing them to choose compliance to new standards over loyalty to him. Any positive contributions may be overshadowed by his defining weakness of inflexibility.

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