If you really want to get ahead, there is one skill that is crucial to master: The art of receiving criticism well. The sooner you can reframe criticism as feedback and treat it like any other input to your work, the better you will be able to profit from it.
Giving and receiving feedback is a skill that will make you stand out in the workplace, as it is not often talked about, or included in workplace training. But you can learn the seven steps to receiving negative feedback gracefully and constructively.
1 – Listen
The first thing to do when you receive negative feedback is not to react. Instead, listen to what is being said. Make sure you understand precisely what the person is saying by repeating it back to them. That way, you know you aren’t coming at it from a defensive stance.
2 – Assume the Best Motivation
It’s more than likely that the person you think is criticizing you is actually trying to help. Start from an assumption of good intentions.
3 – Don’t Get Defensive
If you start to feel yourself react, stop. You’ll feel your reaction in your body first. You may tense up, your stomach may clench, and your heart may race. Take a few deep breaths and allow these feelings to die down.
4 – Don’t Take It Personally
Workplace feedback is typically not personal. Reframe criticism as feedback on the project, not feedback on you as a person.
5 – Reframe Criticism as Help
Your boss or colleague is likely trying to help you improve your performance, so you’ll get better outcomes. Practice feeling grateful that they are interested in your work and don’t want you to fail.
6 – Be Kind to Yourself
Negative feedback is not a reflection on you as a person. Do not hang your self-worth on other people’s opinions. Sure, criticism can sting, even if it’s constructive. Just remember everyone makes mistakes and could do with a helping hand at times. If you feel bad, take yourself out for a treat. Take a break and go for a walk or get a coffee.
7 – Say Thank You
Be sure to say thank you for the feedback. It might be hard to do, but it’s important to acknowledge that they took the time to help you. Appreciating the other person doesn’t mean that you have to take all their advice. It just means you’re polite and professional in all circumstances.