The ‘Annual Performance Review’ Bias

Over the course of a year, an employee does some things well and some things not so well.

When the annual performance review time rolls around, none of this matters as much as how well your boss likes the employee.

If the boss likes the employee, the things done well will be highlighted and mistakes will be downplayed. If not, mistakes will be highlighted and successes will be downplayed.

We all do this.

Think of your favorite politician and your least favorite politician. For your favorite politician, you focus on what he or she does well and you downplay their negatives.

You do the opposite for the politicians you don’t like.


Before the election, Trump said he’d have to wait-and-see if he’d accept the election results. Many on the left made this a negative for Trump, saying he doesn’t respect the tradition of peaceful transfer of power.

After the election, many of the same people who made this a negative for Trump adopted the very position that they criticized when election didn’t go their way.

Why do we do this? Confirmation bias. We make up our minds about someone (and some things) and then look for the reasons to confirm it and ignore reasons that go against what we think.

Having to ‘wait-and-see’ on election results was just another in a list of reasons that confirmed biases against Trump.

What’s unfortunate is that these reasons will often conflict from what we think of one person to the next and we spend little time and energy trying to reconcile the contradiction.

What’s worse is that often the reasons we come up with to confirm our likes or dislikes are wholly fictional.

Trump’s ‘wait-and-see’ comment was quickly spun up to imply that he might even threaten the election results with violence, even though he never said anything of the sort.




Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s