Every time someone gives you feedback, ask yourself: What can I learn from this feedback? advises Rajiv Talreja.
Feedback is not advice, praise, or evaluation.
Neither is feedbacking a method to vent one's frustration on another.
The true purpose of feedback is to create a positive change to help an individual move towards their goals.
Giving and receiving feedback is a critical activity in any relationship.
In a professional environment, the quality of feedback determines the quality of the culture of an organization.
While the outcome is to create positive change, sometimes the way feedback is given could be negative.
The elements of negative feedback could be the tone or the content of the feedback.
Here are 7 ways to deal with negative on unpleasant criticism:
1. Don't be defensive
Don't be in a defensive or rebuttal mode when you receive negative feedback.
If you get defensive or argumentative, it only takes the emotions high, and intelligence comes down when emotions go high.
Hear the feedback out without interrupting.
Thank the person for sharing their feedback and for giving you their perspective.
This makes sure that you and the feedback giver are in a neutral state of energy.
2. Negative feedback is different from constructive feedback
Differentiate between Negative Feedback and Constructive Feedback.
Constructive feedback is when someone gives you a specific direction for improvement.
They want you to be better than you are right now.
Negative Feedback is when someone is just blaming you and venting their frustration.
3. Intent is key
Understand the person's intent. The tone with which the person is speaking reveals their true intention.
Sometimes managers give feedback, not with the intent to add value, but to feel significant and macho, which defeats the purpose of giving constructive feedback.
4. Feedback is learning
Every time someone gives you feedback, ask yourself: What can I learn from this feedback?
Even if the person giving you feedback does not have a positive intent to add value, you filter out points of improvement for yourself.
Every cloud has a silver lining. Find it for yourself.
5. Is it feedback or just fluff?
Sometimes feedback can be filled with fluff.
When you feel that, ask questions like: What would you like me to do differently in this situation?
Or going forward, what change/s in action or behaviour do you expect from me?
This way you are helping the person giving feedback, be more specific and understand the way they need to give feedback to you.
6. What have you understood?
Share your key takeaway in terms of action, behaviour, effort and changes you will demonstrate after the feedback.
Once you share this with the person giving you feedback, they know exactly what you have understood from the feedback given and what exactly will you implement from it.
It leaves no room for speculation or assumptions. It's clear.
7. Ask for support
If you need any support ask the person giving the feedback for support in terms of mentoring or task-based support.
Not every single feedback can be implemented alone.
Sometimes some feedback needs you to take support or suggestions from multiple resources.
Figure out who or what can help you implement this and reach out.
When you implement these, your approach towards negative feedback changes to help you improve yourself or your performance.
Feedback, good or bad, is important for self-realiSation as well as self-development. Make sure to make good use of it when you get it.
Rajiv Talreja is founder of Quantum Leap Learning Solutions Pvt Ltd, a leading MSME business coaching firm.
He is a TedX Speaker, the author of Lead or Bleed, Investor, founder of DreamCraft Events and Entertainment Pvt Ltd, and DreamCatcher Investments Pvt Ltd.