How to Handle Negative Feedback Without Taking it Personally

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How to Handle Negative Feedback Without Taking it Personally

Don't Take Negative Feedback Personally


Though dealing with constructive criticism at work is part of life, many people still need all the help they can get just because of how demoralizing it can be. Whether the criticism comes from a boss, colleague, or family member, hearing negative feedback about your work, or your character can be a major blow to your self-esteem. However, before you cave in to your natural instinct to be defensive, keep in mind that accepting constructive criticism in your work place is the first step to improving yourself.

Unfortunately, you’re going to get bad comments at some point in your professional life. The true test of character, though, lies in your reaction to negative feedback. Below are a few ways to deal with it a like a pro.

  1. Listen

If you received negative feedback from a colleague or boss, chances are, there’s a good reason for it. Instead of reacting right away, listen first. You want to understand where the criticism is coming from and why you’re getting it. Chances are, there’s a good reason why you’re being criticized, especially in the workplace. Your job is to keep an open ear and understand why you’re getting negative feedback.

  1. Is it Fact or Opinion?

Is the negative feedback based on fact or opinion? That your recent string of absences from work has affected the team is a fact. That your latest presentation wasn’t so well done is an opinion. While there may be some truth to both points, knowing the difference between the two makes it easier to respond in the correct manner. For criticisms based on fact, you can acknowledge your mistake and promise to improve. If feedback is based on opinion, you could ask for suggestions on how to do a better job.

  1. Don’t Get Defensive

Getting defensive is the knee-jerk reaction most people have to negative feedback. Rather than reject the feedback by saying “Why am I the only one?” or “This is unfair…” claim responsibility for your mistakes and promise to do a better job next time. Your boss doesn’t care that this person caused you to be late, or that person failed to print the report you sent to your boss after the deadline. Own up to your shortcomings and think of how to improve in the future.

  1. Move On

You got negative feedback. Yes, it hurts, but it happens to everyone. No good will come from dwelling on the criticism and feeling sorry for yourself as this only takes away time better spent on improving your work, your craft, or your personal habits. While you should certainly give yourself time to process your feelings, you should also be on a clock to let them go.


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For more tips on how to survive corporate life, be sure check out the rest of our useful career tips. If you need help with your job search, let the staffing specialists of Top Notch Personnel connect you with our network of local employers so you can find work right away. Contact us today to learn more about our recruitment services.

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