Reacting harshly to negative feedback is a by-product of our egotistical nature. We are, after all humans, and we hate to be told we’re wrong. Employees especially detest negative remarks from management and this often leads to low self-esteem.
Let’s face it, there’s no avoiding negative feedback. Irrespective of the industry you work in, or the level of experience you possess, you are bound to falter at some point in your career. You will no doubt get defensive and feel the need to justify why you did what you did. Arguments could break out and the tension will only add to a negative experience.
Negative feedback, however, when viewed as constructive criticism can become empowering. Learning to accept negative criticism amiably and working on using the feedback to improve is a good attitude to face life with.
Giving Negative Criticism
As a manager, or a team member, you might be hesitant to critique a co-worker. It is after all an awkward conversation. A good way to break in negative feedback is by first asking permission. A simple “Can I give you my opinion?” will pave the way for a better conversation.
Be specific about what exactly the problem is rather than beating around the bush. Giving negative feedback should be like ripping off a band aid, quick and effective. Offer suggestions on how they can improve and always maintain a calm composure and tone.
Accepting Constructive Criticism
First and foremost, do not get offended. Negative feedback can feel like a personal attack, but is never one. It’s your work that is receiving criticism, not you as a person, so relax. Hear the person out and give their opinion a thorough thought.
Do not get defensive and lash out with excuses. The mistake is done, excuses aren’t going to change that fact. Accept the negative feedback graciously instead, and promise to strive on improving that part of your work.
View criticism as a source of improvement. We are too close to ourselves to see the flaws in us, and often need an outside stimuli to bring about improvement. Do not let negative feedback bring down your self-esteem; let it instead be a source of betterment.