Career Skills: 5 Fast Tips ...for handling negative feedback

Don't hide from negative feedback
by Karen Adamedes

Despite all our best efforts sometimes we get negative feedback at work.

It may or may not be deserved. It may be that you did what you thought was required and there was a miscommunication issue. It may be because what you did wasn't understood or that requirements changed during a task or project. Or it may be that your work wasn't as good as it needed to be.

Whatever the reason - knowing how to respond to negative feedback is a valuable skill that needs to form part of your personal Operating Style.

Here are 5 Fast Tips if (when) you do receive negative feedback at work:

1. Acknowledge and clarify what has been said - it's good to clarify what you have just heard. It's easy when you hear something negative to stop listening and start thinking about the reasons why and your response. Or to think that the other person is being more critical than they are. Acknowledging and clarifying what has been said will ensure you have understood the issue/feedback.

2. Thank the person for their feedback - often it is very difficult to give negative feedback and they may be as nervous as you. A "thanks for mentioning this" type comment can show that you are taking this as a business not a personal issue.

3. Ask for time - if you need it to think about what has been said. Be honest if you need the time and tell them this has caught you off-guard and you would like some time to think about it. Reschedule another meeting time so it does not look like you are avoiding the issue.

4. Ask questions - clarify your understanding so that you know exactly what the issue is, why and what is required.

5. Take action - work with your manager/customer/supplier to develop a solution and resolve the specific issue. This could be anything from solving an immediate requirement to enrolling in a course to develop your knowledge or skills in a particular area.

This approach can help you be seen as professional and solution-oriented and positively impact on your credibility. It's like the old adage - turning a negative into a positive - as how you handle things is often at least as important as the work you do.

Have you had any experiences you could share with other Career Chicks?

Thanks for the chat!

- Karen

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