Handling Negative Feedbacks

We all have received discouraging reviews or feedback in our lives that we wished we would have handled better or used as an opportunity to learn from it.  Feedback whether positive or negative are an important part of continuous improvement process that we all go through in our careers.  The way we handle these negative feedback defines how we function in a team environment and how we are seen by the upper management.

Everyone has their own way of handling constructive feedback, but there are some basic methods that should be employed to learn from discouraging comments from your teammates or management.

Identify the Review:  There are two types of reviews, constructive and destructive.  Destructive reviews are not usually meant to encourage you to work hard or improve yourself but to put you down and they are usually personal.  They should be ignored.  Constructive reviews may seem harsh based on how it is delivered but it still has value and will help improve your performance and image.

Identify the Source:  Not all the constructive comments may help you improve professionally.  You need to identify who is providing the review and determine whether the person or the team members are the right people to provide the comments.  Are these the people that you respect and have your best interest in mind?

Be Brave, Listen & Clarify:   As difficult as it may be for you to listen to comments about your short falling or lack of performance from the people that you respect, it is important for you understand your weaknesses.  You must keep your emotions in check in order for people to give you honest feedback. Listen carefully to understand how your performance is seen by others and ask for clarification when necessary.

Learn & Grow:  Use the feedback received as an opportunity to enhance your performance and skills. Furthermore, do not wait to get feedback from your teammates or management until annual performance review, ask for continuous feedback.  This way you will not have to wait until end of the year to find out how your work is perceived by your peers.

Overall, there many different things that may affect your performance, whether its schedule, project complexity, or something personal and not everyone involved in providing the feedback will be aware of all your situations.  However, constructive feedback are still great way of identifying your weaknesses and determining how you are seen in an organization, which will critical in your professional career.

Have you ever had a negative review given to you by your teammates or management?  How did you handle it?  Do you think the review was fair?  What did you learn and improve from it?







10 thoughts on “Handling Negative Feedbacks

  1. Feedback is king. It is the most uncomfortable thing that you can bring upon yourself but it is also some of the most beneficial information that you will ever receive. As a frequent giver and receiver of feedback, there are a few tips like I like to implement. As a giver of feedback (positive or negative), you need to ensure that the person is ready to receive it. On the fly feedback is usually never well received, especially if it is constructive. It is better to ask the person when is a good time to sit and discuss some feedback that you have. Second, I like to set ground rules for the feedback session. The rules state, as a receiver you have to take it in, listen and acknowledge the feedback. This is not a time to object or justify why you did something. Feedback is simply someone else’s take. The last rule is, do whatever you want with the feedback. Use it, don’t use it. It is up to you. The second rule is what allows the first to be effective. Sit, listen and thank the person for taking the time to care about how you do something, and then go and do whatever you want with it!

  2. This is a great post. It reminded me of the HR exercise (To Find the Object) we did that illuminated how important BOTH positive and negative feedback are. I struggle with delivering negative feedback but it is a skill I have had to get better at due to a new role I took on this year. I’ve found that effectively and clearly delivering constructive feedback is essential to running any healthy and well functioning team. Great added tips John, I will put these to use!

  3. I like this post because it is something we all can learn from and use. I want to add onto it. Empathy. It is not easy to deliver constructive feedback effectively. Remember that the person delivering it, after you identify that is is constructive and not destructive, is having a hard time doing it. I have received negative feedback from my director. I was so mad because I was being blamed for actions performed by others in my team, and not myself, but I am the face of the team and I had to take it. I looked at it as a way for me to confront my team about their mistakes from a highlevel approach and a way for me to thicken up my skin. You have to have thick skin in management, I think the more you learn and the more you grow you will have more exposure to giving and receiving great feedback.

  4. I think you bring up a great point in “identifying the source” of your feedback. My current department has a good mix of veteran and non veteran employees. I have experienced feedback being given by some of the non management veteran employees, to the newer employees around me. This feedback usually includes letting the newer employee know they are doing something incorrectly by talking down or passive aggressively addressing the issue. I feel feedback of this nature was only detrimental to the development of the person on the receiving end. When this happens, you can only hope the individual is able to identify to themselves that this was not constructive feedback, and did not take it personally.

    Additionally, I think it is important to acknowledge management should be able to identify the correct people to deliver the feedback during the review process. These people should be able to act as a motivator and coach, cultivating a well rounded work force.

  5. I think almost everyone has received negative feedback in one form or another. I think one of the most important things about negative feedback is to LET IT GO. We remember a negative comment in a review X10 times longer than a positive one. By dwelling on a negative comment I have felt discouraged and detached from the person who made the comment. When I look back to some of the negative reviews that I have had, they seem sort of silly. If I had looked at the situation objectively, I would not have taken it so personally. These are helpful steps to identify what is helpful in the review and what is just poor tact or communication.

  6. I believe handling negative feedback is vital for anyone. I like the point in “identify the review”. Some people can mistake a constructive comment as an attack. I believe it is important to identify the two differences.

  7. Feedback is really important in everyone’s life, whether it is positive or negative. Negative feedback is more challenging than a positive feedback because when you generate a feedback it is not safe and you cannot do it, you can accept it as a challenge and make it prove you can manage it. It’s really important to listen clearly and observe it and clarify if anything is amiss. We should always try to learn from and grow from the feedback which we have received. In this Context, I liked the point”Be brave, listen and clarify” and “learn and grow”.

  8. This is a very important subject that garbed my attention, having negative feedback doesn’t mean that you are not good at what you are doing, it just means that you have to put more effort in what you are doing.
    Also, always keep in mind that this feedback is for your own good, it’s not meant to discourage you or have you stop what you are doing, you should take it in a positive way to perform better.

    in addition always take negative feedback with an open mind, make it a challenge to push you further in perfecting what your doing.

  9. Feedback is very important, some people take feedback as a bad things and others take it a good way to improve them selves, having negative feedback may discourage some from finishing what their doing or even having them quite. others take negative feedback as way to improve themselves or to improve what they are working on. you have to also take into consideration who the feedback is coming from. People tend to give feedback to make you a better person and other just do so to have something to talk about. over all, a person has to take negative feedback in a positive way and don’t let it bother them or discourage them.

  10. This is a great post as it definitely provides sound advice on handling negative feedback. I especially appreciate the Be Brave, Listen & Clarify part as it is a key part in accepting your shortfalls. People tend to lash out whenever they get criticized while failing to realize that the criticizer is only trying to help, think of a parent-teenager relationship; they are doing it out of love.

    However, I would have loved it if the author also dwelled into -how- to deliver negative feedback; the criticizer’s body language, tone and facial expressions definitely shape the criticized person’s response.

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