Digesting Negative Feedback: Do It the Right Way

Workplace environment can be hectic and complex, which creates conditions for mistakes and hiccups. And how wouldn’t it be? Employees have to deal with deadlines, ringing phones and meetings simultaneously – mistakes are bound to happen. This demands managers to provide negative feedback. This process may be unpleasant for both sides – hearing it might be just as uncomfortable as delivering it (the giver is not raving about having an unpleasant conversation and pointing out other person’s mistakes). It is very common to feel frustrated or act defensively under such circumstances.

When talking about the process of delivering and responding to negative feedback, we should take into consideration viewpoints of both parties. There are no good guys or bad guys. Feedback is meant to create a mutually beneficial working environment. Always appreciate people who accept constructive criticism graciously.

As a responsible employee, one must understand that constructive feedback is the way to improve and excel in a career with a better perspective. It will assist you in managing complex situations and relationships in an ideal manner without creating a fuss.

Take Your Time

Resist the impulse to react in the heat of the moment. It is always wiser to refrain yourself from showing the first reaction. As experts point out – not reacting at all is far better than over-reacting.

Negative feedback is always hard to digest, and you should be honest about it by asking for some time for it to sink in. Even if you are getting criticised unfairly, it is still not a smart thing to leap straight there.

Listening Is Essential to Understanding

Successful employees possess listening skills, and this proves quite handy when they are at the receiving end of negative feedback. It is crucial to actively listen to your manager when they are giving you feedback. Afterwards, recall all the points and extract benefits from it – learn your lessons!

Keep in mind that giving negative feedback is also challenging. Rethinking your feedback when your mind is not busy listening lets you understand its purpose better.

Ask Questions and Deconstruct It

Ask questions and communicateIt is important to perfectly understand what is being communicated to you while receiving feedback. This way you can deconstruct it, get to its root, and prevent it from repeating in future.

If you are uncertain or have doubts, you can ask questions to clarify it at any point. For instance, if your manager points out your reaction during the meeting was not appropriate, you can further deconstruct it by asking what the exact thing you said or did that felt inappropriate was.

Questions like this will help you understand the issue from its root and seek specific solutions to address it.

Be Open to It

As we mentioned before, giving feedback is a challenging task for your manager or boss, which is why the more open and cooperative you are, the easier it gets for both of you. Showing openness and willingness also enables you to learn from it.

Maintaining awkward silence can confuse your manager about how you are taking it – be honest and show them how you feel. It proves that you are welcoming feedback and avoiding unilateral criticism.

Share Relevant Information

As emphasis has been given to showing openness, it is important to share information that can make a difference to your manager’s perspective about you. For example, if your submission of an individual project got delayed due to other people’s fault or you are waiting for instructions from someone who was on sick leave. Such information shows that you are fulfilling your responsibilities, and the error occurred due to some factor out of your control.

Responding to negative feedback in a positive way enhances your capabilities and toughens your character. Moreover, it assists you in strengthening your connections in the long run. When we are in a defensive mode, instead of being gracious and showing acceptance, we divert our attention from this valuable benefit. Focus on what is being pointed out, analyse and react accordingly, as it can give you many valuable insights for the future.

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