Never accept negative feedback. You may ask: why? And the answer is simple: criticism should always be a positive experience.
Of course, that won’t stop people telling you what they think. So, stick with me and I will show you how to handle feedback and what to do with it.
How to Handle Negative Feedback
When you receive negative feedback, it’s likely that it’s from someone with an agenda, low self-esteem or inexperience. Remember this: confident people tell it true. But, they won’t want to hurt you.
Never accept negative feedback until you understand why you are receiving it.
Let’s be clear: criticism should be conditional and should not give out put downs.
It’s about giving a reaction to what someone has done without criticizing the person. It’s about doing, not being.
Therefore, before deciding to accept negative feedback, be sure it is specific, concise and about something you have done.
If not, challenge the person giving negative feedback. Be sure they provide you with examples and avoid generalization when giving negative feedback.
If not, challenge them!
Ask yourself this:
- Is the motive to help you or hurt you?
- Do they tell it as it is, or use generalization?
- Does negative feedback come from “I’m okay, you’re okay”?
If not, challenge the person giving negative feedback.
When we are open to receive feedback, we need to recognize that we all see things differently.
We need to acknowledge these differences and take an introspective look at ourselves. We need to ask ourselves why people view us in a particular way. Is it our behaviour? Our personality? Or what we say and do?
Acknowledging the need to become a better leader—to do things different—is the most difficult step.
Even so, to be an effective leader, we must take steps to increase our self-awareness. That is, be open to learning: getting feedback and listening without justifying.
We need to learn to listen with presence—giving people our full attention—and accept feedback without trying to defend ourselves.
If we try to justify our actions, people will stop giving us feedback.
How well do you receive negative feedback? As criticism? Or an opportunity for self-improvement? You are welcome to share your experience in the comments.