Why Negative Feedback Doesn’t Have to be Personal

Even if it is given constructively and with a soft touch, criticism can be difficult to take.

Regardless of how much your those around you build your confidence through compliments or recognition, it’s normal to have that one bit of critique keep resonating in your mind and cut into your confidence.

Fortunately or unfortunate, feedback is a part of life, especially in the workplace. Being able to calmly take feedback is very important. You also should know how to keep it from decimating your confidence, and use it to make you a better person.

Here are a few things you can try to avoid taking constructive criticism so personally.

Pobody’s Nerfect

Sure it’s a cliché to say that nobody’s perfect, but sayings become clichés largely because they are true. If presidents, CEOs and even Thomas Edison are capable of making mistakes, then so are you.  It is important to maintain this perspective when trying to process criticism.

Focus on content, not context

When we receive criticism, a gut reaction is often to think about the circumstances around the criticism.

Why would this person say it like that? Is he having a bad day and taking it out on you? Is she trying to cover up her own mistakes?

Instead of pursuing these lines of thinking, focus on exactly what was said. Even if the criticism was said in anger, or the intentions behind it weren’t benevolent, there’s nothing wrong with at least considering the content of what was said.

You may find out later that the person was having a bad day, but if their criticism was able to help you identify an inefficiency, then the net result is a positive one.

Drill down

Being able to take criticism doesn’t just mean silently nodding in agreement, walking away and getting on with your day.

Instead, you should be engaging the person with questions and requests for further clarification. Doing this, you can be certain on what the person’s intentions were and how you can use criticism to enhance your work.

Showing that interest also has a secondary benefit: It’ll alter the way you see the person offering their critique. Rather than viewing him or her as a nag or annoyance, you’ll see them as a resource you can go to for additional information or clarity.

Internalize valuable criticism

Feedback can only make you a better worker or a better person if you draw the right lesson from it and internalize that lesson.

When receiving feedback, pay attention to anything of value, and then apply that knowledge at the next opportunity. This will not only make your work better right away, but it’ll also enhance all of your future endeavors. Furthermore, practicing listening comprehension will certainly result in an equal rise in your confidence.

At LTI Services, we want you to be your best and have a job that reflects your unique skill set and personality. If you are looking to find a new job, check out our opportunities today.