How to Deal With Negative Feedback at Work

No one likes getting negative feedback. But negative feedback at work can be extremely helpful—it can give you fresh perspective on your work and highlight areas in which you can reexamine your methods and modify your approach. If you take negative feedback effectively (read: not personally or emotionally) and reflect on it, you can definitely improve the overall quality of your work. Use these six strategies to handle negative feedback at work.

How to Deal With Negative Feedback at Work

Moderate Your Initial Reaction:

Pause before you react. Take a moment to breathe, stay calm and avoid getting defensive. The results of the Sensitivity to Criticism Test showed that people who are “defensive about criticism are less happy with their job, [and] have low performance ratings and low self-esteem.” Wait a few seconds to collect yourself and your thoughts before you respond.

Listen Carefully:

Listen carefully to the feedback and show that you’ve acknowledged it. One good technique is to repeat what the person said. It shows that you are listening and also will help you remember the feedback in the future.

Ask Questions:

Negative feedback can be extremely beneficial to your work performance and to your career. Ask questions to be sure that you completely understand the situation, the feedback, and what you need to do to improve in the future.

Say Thank You:

Giving negative feedback isn’t easy. Thank the person for taking the time to give you feedback and the opportunity to improve based upon it.

Follow Up:

If the negative feedback concerns a big issue, you may want to schedule time to follow up. This will give you a chance to find out if your performance has improved.

Take Time to Reflect:

Don’t blow the negative feedback out of proportion. Try your best not to take it personally! One of the biggest mistakes I repeatedly made earlier in my career was taking things personally. You’ll be much better off if you listen to negative feedback objectively and realize that it’s not a reflection on what the person thinks of you as a person, but rather a thoughtful appraisal of your work.

Everyone makes mistakes—your boss does, too. Your career will be better off if you view negative feedback as a chance to make positive changes. It gives you the opportunity to improve and be the best you can be!

This post is by me and originally appeared on Career Contessa. Image via Southern Curls and Pearls.

12 Responses to How to Deal With Negative Feedback at Work

  1. Such great advice! I think taking that initial time to wait to react to the feedback is crucial!


  2. Courtney says:

    Really great tips hun! I used to get so offended when someone would offer constructive criticism at work, but now that I’ve gotten older, I totally welcome it. No one’s perfect and it’s helpful to see things through someone else’s eyes.


  3. Ashley says:

    Amazing post with some really helpful tips! Negative feedback at work is bound to happen and these are great ideas for dealing with it!!

    xo Ashley

  4. This is really beneficial because negative feedback can be hard to deal with. I’m an actor so I am learning to deal with negative feedback without trying to let it get me down.

  5. This is music to my ears. So refreshing. Great read.

  6. These are great tips! Negative feedback is never fun to hear but constructive criticism is always necessary.

    -Meagan | Love by Meagan

  7. Shane says:

    Reflection is the most important part of negative feedback. Taking it as constructive criticism is so key!

  8. Kirsten says:

    This is a really helpful post. Taking time to reflect is so important and negative feedback can actually really help your career if you can learn to grow from it.

  9. Tiffani says:

    I love these! I think not blowing things out of proportion is the most important thing!

  10. Elly Leavitt says:

    I agree, it can be really hard to get negative feedback! Thanks for the helpful tips x

  11. This is such a great post. I’d add one more thing: don’t take it personally. So many times, I thought that negative feedback was reflective of me as a human being. The moment I could separate my work self from who I am, I was so much more receptive to criticism – be it positive or negative.
    XO Amanda |

  12. Tressie William says:

    Good Tips! Keep yourself calm, let others say what they want to,you just ignore them. The best thing I do when I see negativity around myself.

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