Have you ever been caught off guard with your boss by giving you some critical, negative feedback regarding your work performance? Sounds hurting, right? Especially if you’re sure that you’ve been doing your best. You will then feel upset, discouraged or shut down. But those reactions will just make you more depressed and may affect your performance in the process. By turning negative feedback into a positive learning opportunity, this experience will only help you grow and improve your performance instead.
Here are the 7 ways to handle negative feedback at work (see infographic below)
1. Pause First, Don’t React.
Listen intently without speaking or defending yourself as you receive the feedback. Reacting defensively tells more about you as a person than about the comment itself. Remaining calm and composed helps you deal with the feedback better. Just think about this: If your employer never gives you feedback, chances are you would stagnate in your job instead of growing. Even if you ultimately disagree with the feedback, it’s crucial to understand your boss’ perspective so that you can make better decisions for yourself.
2. Understand the Issue/Topic
Every feedback, whether negative or positive, comes from somewhere. Listen and understand his explanation. You can also try to paraphrase what you heard. By rephrasing it, you can clarify what you think you heard and make sure you understand the comments. Know the main issue or the root of the problem or try to put yourself in the person’s shoes. Imagine you as the boss/employer and think how he felt. This will make it easier to understand why he/she commented that way.
3. Appreciate the Feedback
Thank your boss for sharing his/her thoughts and opinions with you. Show him appreciation like “I really appreciate you telling me this. I didn’t realize this was a problem, and I’m grateful that you raised it.” The more you show that you’re open to the conversation, the easier it will go for both of you. You will then be having a discussion that’s more about collaborative problem-solving than one-way criticism.
4. Share Relevant Information
Reply to the feedback after taking the time to think and analyze. If you have realized some information or perspective that your employer doesn’t and may impact his/her assessment, let him know. Give reasons for your agreement or disagreement, but keep the conversation positive. Remember, don’t be defensive.
5. Ask Time to Process the Feedback
It’s really tough to absorb critical feedback on the spot or to figure out how to respond. It’s acceptable to say something like, “Would it be OK if I took some time to think about this and then get back to you in a few days with my thoughts?” Then make sure you would get back. Through that time, you can then ask for some advice from some other people you trust. Carefully assess if the feedback is true or whether it’s really your fault or not. Talk it over with your good friends and process the feedback with them.
6. Recognize that Negative Feedback is a Positive Thing
People who told you negative feedback wants you to become better. Come to think of it, if the person didn’t care at all, he/she wouldn’t even have wasted his time to talk about his feedback, right? Nobody’s perfect, it means we all have blind/negative spots that we don’t know. Hearing negative feedback isn’t pleasing but they give us a different perspective to consider. It helps us grow much faster. While positive feedback encourage and inspire us, negative feedback helps us become more aware of things that we aren’t aware at first. We are given a chance to improve more.
7. Learn from the Feedback
There’s always something to learn in every feedback. Ask yourself whether you have learned something for yourself; learned about others; how can you improve; and what would you do regarding that issue from now on. It may not be easy to handle negative feedback but if you learn the art of dealing with it, it’ll result a huge impact into your personal growth. Read next: Tips to Prevent Workplace Pain