To make matters worse, my colleagues and I recently discovered we were given identical appraisals.

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Q: My last three performance reviews have been very disappointing. The manager who hired me always gave me outstanding ratings, but ever since he left, I have been rated as “meets expectations.”

During this year’s discussion, “Bob,” my current supervisor, raved about how I had developed creative solutions, improved work processes and effectively trained new employees. However, he did not include these remarks in my written review. When I questioned my average rating, Bob said upper management would not agree to a higher score.

To make matters worse, my colleagues and I recently discovered that Bob gave us identical appraisals. All our ratings and comments were exactly the same. He apparently completed one review form and then made three copies with different names.

Fortunately, Bob is now transferring to another management position. When our new supervisor arrives, how can I get her to give me a better rating?

A: Being both cowardly and lazy, Bob provides a perfect example of how to mismanage the appraisal process. So before discussing your disappointment, let’s focus for a moment on his dreadful approach to performance reviews.

Bob’s first mistake was lavishing you with verbal praise which was omitted from the official document. Then, instead of providing helpful feedback, he blamed his bosses for your mediocre rating. Finally, he created four copycat review forms, which should probably be reported to human resources.

Regarding your ratings decline, there are several possibilities. Your hiring manager might have had different expectations than those who followed him. Your company could have decided to combat “ratings inflation” by limiting the number of high scores allowed. Or perhaps your performance has actually slipped a bit.

But regardless of the cause, the upcoming management change provides a perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Talk with your new boss about her definition of outstanding performance for your position, and then make a concerted effort to deliver those results.