For most people, there comes a time in your career when you need to respond to negative feedback from your manager. Negative feedback can give you hard truths to swallow and can leave you feeling demotivated and, well, like a failure. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Every crisis presents an opportunity. Once you’ve gotten over the blow to your ego, you can actually turn your negative feedback into a huge positive and ultimately earn some serious brownie points from your manager because of how you handled it.
If you’re going to get earmarked for a leadership or management role, you need to be able to take constructive criticism.
Let’s take a look at how to turn negative feedback into a positive:
The very first step in handling constructive criticism is to give your manager the floor. Even if you don’t agree entirely with what is being said, listen without interrupting and let your boss finish.
During a feedback session, the last thing you want to do is get defensive. Don’t start making excuses, raise your voice or lose your temper. Remain professional and responsive to what your boss is saying by nodding your head and using simple phrases like ‘I understand’ to show you’re receiving the feedback.
Thanking your manager for raising the issues is a great way of showing you’re open to self-improvement. Your aim should be to continuously better yourself, therefore being appreciative of any opportunity to work on yourself. A commitment to personal development (even if through negative feedback) is a quality of a true leader.
Getting negative feedback is a two-way exchange. It’s not just about receiving the information, but it’s about offering your insight and opinion on the situation too. Perhaps you can relate to what your manager is saying. Maybe you can shed light on the situation by explaining (not excusing) why the drop in your performance occurred.
Before the end of the meeting, be sure to clarify what your manager’s expectations are moving forward. That way, you know exactly how to rectify the problem in the coming days/weeks/months. When you finish the conversation, adapt a can-do attitude and reassure your manager you’re going to do everything in your power to turn the situation around.
Now the ball’s in your court. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is and do the things you said you were going to do. Anyone can talk a good talk, but very few are willing to put in the work to make it happen. Ensure your personal development is high priority following on from your negative feedback.
What will really blow your manager away is having the courage to ask for more feedback on the issue a few weeks after your meeting. By that time, your manager will have seen you taking action. But by taking the initiative to bring the issue up again, you’re truly setting yourself apart as a dedicated employee and potential leader.
Receiving negative feedback isn’t a death sentence… but it will be if you look at it in that way. If you choose to create an opportunity out of it, you’ll soon end up on top. Being able to receive and rectify feedback professionally is a true test of character. Always remember that taking on board negative feedback professionally is a huge asset in the eyes of your employer!
Vanessa Ramkissoon | Recruitment Content Expert