How to handle unconstructive feedback
I get a lot of questions from clients around the feedback they get and what it “really” means.
The thing is, most people don’t even know how to handle constructive feedback, let alone unconstructive feedback.
Generally, when you get negative feedback, your first natural reaction is to take it as criticism and become reactive. You put your guard up right away and become unreceptive to the feedback. You might even try to argue the points.
However, when you focus on the negatives, feelings of discontent and disconnectedness just fester and grow, making your work no longer enjoyable. This is definitely something you want to avoid if you want to stay on track and climb up the career scale, so it’s important to nip it in the bud as soon as possible.
Here are three things you can do when getting unconstructive feedback.
1: Be proactive, not reactive
The very first thing you need to do is shift your mindset from a reactive one to a proactive one.
What this means is to take a moment to process the negative feedback before reacting.
Whatever it is, just let it sink in before responding. Have a think about it and realise that it’s nothing personal.
Not only will you eliminate the possibility of debate by not completely dismissing the feedback you got, but you’ll also open up the communication channels between you and your employer which will help you get down to the bottom of what you have to do in order to improve.
By taking a moment to let your emotions settle, your judgement isn’t going to be clouded by your emotions and you’ll respond in a much more professional way.
2: Seek out the truths
Once you’ve learned not to be reactive, the next thing to do is to get to the bottom of where that feedback is coming from. There are elements of truth in any piece of negative feedback, and that’s why many people feel personally attacked and raise their defences.
It’s important to realise that this emotional reaction stems from that element of truth in the feedback, because deep down inside it hit a nerve and you don’t want to consciously address it.
Many people don’t take the time to stop and actually reflect on the feedback that they were given, and if you’re not doing this, you’re not going to be getting much value out of the feedback.
Searching for the underlying reasons behind a statement will help you see things from another perspective and better understand yourself as well.
3: Have a growth mindset
You need to reframe the way you’re seeing the issue. Not only has this person devoted a chunk of time to actually have a look at your work and think about your performance, but in most cases they’re also really trying to help you.
By approaching the interaction from a positive a thankful place, you’ll be more prepared to take that advice onboard and apply it.
Of course, part of this also comes down to the way the feedback is delivered. As a leader you want your feedback to be taken positively and get somebody to engage and change, so it’s definitely a skill worth mastering.
At the end of the day, all feedback is good feedback, and it’s ultimately mostly up to the person receiving the feedback to make the most of it.
Until next time,