When someone at the office gives you negative feedback, what’s your first instinct? Maybe you want to spit out a quick defense, such as, “I’m not like that!” Maybe you want to counter the criticism with some negative feedback of your own for the other person. Or maybe you want to turn away and pretend it never happened. Whatever your instinct, remember these practical tips to accepting negative feedback and turning a bad experience into a good one.
Keep Your Mouth Shut
That’s right. Don’t let any hasty words fly out of your mouth. Instead, listen carefully to what the other person has to say. You might notice falsehoods or opinions hiding in the criticism. Don’t jump at the chance to point them out. Instead, nod your head, keep listening, and act respectful.
Take Your Time to Respond
It’s real easy to respond in the heat of the moment. That’s when emotions can take hold of your tongue, and you might say things that won’t help your cause. Push back your defensive attitude, take a deep breath, and calmly ask for some time to think about the feedback. Set a new time to discuss the criticism. Give yourself a chance to consider if the feedback is true or false. Carefully consider how you will reply. Your job may be on the line.
Be Mature When Responding
When you do respond, act like the mature adult that you are. If you owe an apology, then make it a sincere one, but do not over-apologize. Learn from your mistakes, and keep working. Negative criticism can hurt, especially if it was given harshly, but there may be pearls of truth hiding in the feedback. Consider this an opportunity to improve your working habits. In fact, when others notice you responding maturely to negative feedback, they will gain new respect for you. They see that you listen and try to change for the better. This is the path to trust and teamwork.
Take advantage of negative feedback by allowing it to lead you forward in your career, and allowing you to become a positive role model for your fellow employees.