A Guide to Better Negative Performance Review

Are you a manager struggling to give your team members a negative performance review?

Communicating feedback is one of the most challenging parts of being a manager, and it often requires tact and diplomacy. You need to make sure your comments aren’t too harsh or overly critical.

At the same time, you have to be honest about underperformance. To help make this process easier, we’ve compiled a list of some common negative performance review comments.

These can help you get your message across in an effective way. Let’s dive into the top ten words!

What Are Negative Performance Review Comments?

Negative performance review comments are statements that a manager makes to an employee when they feel that the employee is not meeting expectations.

These comments are typically focused on specific areas of improvement and can include criticism and suggestions for how employees can improve their performance. Providing constructive feedback to help employees learn, grow, and develop professionally is essential.

Top 10 Negative Performance Review

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Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

1. “Your Work Has Been Below Expected Standards.”

This phrase expresses dissatisfaction without pointing out any specific problem areas. It emphasizes that someone’s work differs from the standard you expect.

2. “You Need to Improve Your Accuracy.”

A clear and direct comment about someone’s performance can help motivate them to do better. Stating which area of their work needs improvement is also helpful.

3. “Your Output Has Been Inconsistent.”

This phrase emphasizes that someone’s performance could be more consistent from one project to the next or from one day to the next. This is especially useful if you encourage someone to become more reliable and organized with their work.

4. “You Haven’t Met Any Deadlines Lately.”

Deadlines are essential to any job, and this phrase points out when someone needs to meet them. It can remind someone of the importance of being on time and getting things done.

5. “You Need to Show Better Judgment.”

This comment focuses on the decisions that someone makes during their work. It is useful when an employee’s choices have led to problems or conflicts with other team members or caused project complications.

6. “Your Communication Skills Need Improvement.”

Communication is vital in any job, and this phrase points out if someone is having trouble communicating effectively with others. It can also refer to written and verbal communication, so it’s important to clarify which type you’re referring to if necessary.

7. “You Need to Be More Proactive.”

This phrase is helpful when someone needs to take the initiative or put in the necessary effort. It can also refer to specific tasks that require a lot of effort, so it’s essential to specify which areas need improvement if needed.

8. “Your Attitude Has Been Negative Recently.”

This comment is helpful when someone’s negative attitude has affected their work performance or relationships with others. It’s important to emphasize that people need to change their outlook to improve their productivity and morale.

9. “You’re Not Using Your Time Wisely.”

Time management is an essential skill for any job, and this phrase emphasizes the importance of using it effectively. It can also refer to taking too long to complete a task, so it’s essential to specify which areas need improvement if needed.

10. “Your Work Needs More Attention to Detail.”

Attention to detail is an important aspect of any job, and this phrase emphasizes the need for accuracy and thoroughness. It can be helpful when someone has made mistakes or forgotten essential details. This could have been avoided with excellent care and focus on their work.

11. “You Need to Show More Enthusiasm.”

Enthusiasm is an important part of any job and this phrase emphasizes the need for someone to be passionate and motivated in their work. It can also refer to taking initiative or showing initiative, so it’s important to specify which areas need improvement if necessary.

12. “You’re Not Taking Ownership of Your Work.”

This phrase emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s work and being accountable for it. It can be useful for when someone is not paying enough attention to their tasks or is ignoring errors that need to be corrected.

13. “You Need to Take Initiative More Often.”

This comment focuses on the need to take the lead on tasks and projects, rather than waiting for someone else to do so. It’s important to emphasize that this type of behavior leads to greater success in both personal and professional life.

14. “Your Collaboration Skills Could Use Improvement.”

Collaboration is an important part of any job, and this phrase points out when someone is not effectively working with their team members. It can be useful for when someone has caused conflict or is not contributing to the group in a meaningful way.

15. “You Need to Take More Feedback.”

Feedback is an essential part of any job and this phrase emphasizes the importance of taking it seriously. You can use it as an opportunity to improve. It can also refer to taking criticism without becoming defensive, so it’s important to clarify which type you’re referring to if necessary.

Tips for Writing Negative Performance Review Comments

  • Don’t focus solely on the negative; provide constructive and actionable feedback.
  • Speak clearly and directly without making assumptions.
  • Make sure to include specific examples of where employees could improve their performance.
  • Provide suggestions for how the employee can address any issues or weaknesses you have identified.
  • Focus on behavior and outcomes, not personal characteristics.
  • Avoid being overly critical or harsh when giving feedback.
  • Allow time for the employee to ask questions or discuss ways they can make improvements before ending the review session.


What Are the Causes of Poor Performance?

1. Failure to comply with the duties or standards required.

2. Defamation of workplace policies, rules, or procedures.

3. A workplace behavior that is unacceptable.

4. An unpleasant or disorienting behavior that relates to employees.

Can You Describe the 4 Types of Negative Feedback?

Negative feedback can be divided into four types: Voltage series, Voltage shunt, Current series, Current spool, Current.


In conclusion, communicating negative feedback without coming across as overly critical or harsh is difficult but necessary. It is to ensure your team members are performing up to standards.

Our negative performance review comments list will help you convey your message effectively and constructively.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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