How to Respond to Negative Feedback at Work

| 4 min read

Feedback is a major avenue for growth. But the question is, how do you receive it when it is negative? We all love to hear positive feedback but end up reacting unpleasantly to negative ones. Negative feedback can come as a surprise and hit you hard when you least expect it. How you deal with it is what makes the difference.
Seeing it from an angle of dislike instead of a form of correction is where most people go wrong. It can lead you to portray your worst behavior which can eventually cost you your job. When you receive negative feedback, should you fight back? Absolutely not. Let’s take a look at how to react to possible negative feedback at your workplace.

1. Don’t React with War

As tempting as it may be to make your voice heard, always stay calm and first listen. Resist the need to act like a boxer in a boxing ring. Contrary to what you might believe, arguing with the facts of the situation is a complete waste of time, resources and energy. When making a point, send your message across with decorum and professionalism.
You may be right but a rude and inappropriate reaction can nullify your innocence. Conserve your precious energy. Understand the lesson at hand and respond in ways that will help, rather than hurt, your career. Be a lover of reality and take action to quickly improve your performance and rebuild your credibility.

2. De-personalize the Feedback

When given negative feedback, do not act defensive. Defense is the first act of war, and you should avoid it. Commit to responding to the feedback with a willingness to do better. Provide simple responses, such as; “I would like to change that and find a way forward” or “I have noticed that too. What do you advise I do differently?” Own your actions and demonstrate that you are ready to resolve it. An act of gratitude for receiving the feedback is your first step to making things better.

3. Focus on Becoming a Better You

This is the time to pay more attention to your actions. Resist the need to point out how others were involved in the outcome that led to the negative feedback. Playing the blame game only slows down your progress in learning from the situation. Get the most out of the experience and focus on how you can make an impact to redeem your image.

4. Look at the Brighter Side

No matter the level of criticism thrown at you, it should not define you. It is only meant to make you better. That is why you should always look at the bigger picture and try to understand what the other person is saying to you. The mistake you made could be affecting your companies growth which in the long run can harm your place in the organization.

That is why it is important you put the situation behind you and press on. You are not the first to receive negative feedback and definitely won’t be the last. Your colleagues could be getting worse feedback. Channel your thoughts and energy into getting a positive end results and get busy working towards improving yourself.

5. Develop a Drive for Results and Learning

Learning and achieving results should be your goal after receiving negative feedback. Carefully assess the situation and account for how you got there. This will help you move from being a victim of circumstances to a professional who can account for the actions that led to the current results.

Do all you can to develop and improve yourself if you want to deal with negative feedback. Start by realizing that people won’t always have good things to say to you. And when they give you negative feedback, you should always try and get where the person is coming from and learn from it. Learn to react rationally and see yourself rise with these useful tips. When it hurts, sit back, sip some water and re-calibrate.

Have you ever had an unpleasant feedback at the workplace? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.

Nelly Sadongo-Bawa
Social Media and Community Marketer at Jobberman Ghana || Blogger || Motivator || Radio host || "Knowledge is like a garden. If it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested."