How to Deal with Feedback

How to create a positive outlook after getting a negative feedback.

Nobody wants to receive negative feedback at work, but it still happens. Being told that hard work on some project is flawed can have a major impact on a person’s confidence. Then, you second-guess every move at work fearing future negative reactions. It doesn’t have to be like that. Scroll down to find out how to put a positive spin on negative feedback at work.


The lesson, not a failure

Never a failure, always a lesson may seem like a Rihanna-inspired tattoo, but it’s more than that. We tend to assume that negative feedback is a failure that only shows we’re not capable of doing something right. In order to put a positive spin on negative feedback, you need to avoid considering it as a major setback in your career.

Sometimes things go according to the plan, but in other cases, they don’t. What you can do is to think of it as a teaching moment, an opportunity to learn. Instead of thinking you failed, ask yourself “what can I learn from this?

Using negative feedback as a learning experience shows tremendous personal and professional growth, but it also minimizes the risk of same mistake happening again. Take the bad situation like a pro and come out of this fight as a winner.

Accept it

The initial reaction to negative comments is to defensiveness. When you get an unfavorable feedback the first thing you want to do is to defend your work, but that is not always the best policy. Mistakes happen, you’re human. Accept the feedback and make necessary changes to improve your work.

You can start by making a list of action items that your boss suggested, plan other steps for the successful completion of the project, and start working. During this process, you’ll gain more knowledge, improve skills, and become better at your job. This is a great way to turn a negative situation into a positive experience.

It’s not personal

Businesswomen face more challenges than their male colleagues mainly because they are considered less competent. You need to work twice as hard to get recognized in your profession. Over the years you have probably gotten used to the idea of both positive and negative feedback, but it’s difficult not to take it personally.

Even though it’s difficult, you need to de-personalize negative comments. Consider it as a constructive criticism of your work, not personality or even gender. That way, you’ll find it easier to overcome this situation and make a progress. Taking it personally can only cause more stress and increase confidence problems. Even if the feedback comes from a person who’s not your biggest fan, only focus on the comment itself, not a colleague. It will be difficult at first, but with practice and consistency, you’ll be able to do it easily sooner than you think.

Focus on yourself

The last thing you should do after receiving a negative feedback is to try and blame other people entirely or to say they also had a role in a poor outcome. In order to create a positive outlook under these circumstances, you need to focus on yourself.

Resist the need to point out that others were involved because it will only slow your progress. At the same time, you’ll fail to take the feedback as a learning experience. Get the most out of this situation by taking responsibility for mistakes that were overlooked and focusing on yourself only. This approach to negative comments can inspire your colleagues to do the same, meaning you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on your environment.

Reframe the situation

As a business woman, you’re probably wondering how to start empowering women to be brave and accomplish great things in life and career. The way you handle negative situation speaks a lot about your character and inspires other people. When you receive a negative feedback, a practical way to deal with it is to think of 3 positive things about it. At first, it may look like there’s nothing positive about this, but when you take some time to think, you’ll be surprised.

For example, these positive spins can be an opportunity to learn, new chance to include things you’ve forgotten, a great way to demonstrate you can handle everything in a working environment like a champion. Now, think of the last negative feedback you received and name three positive things about it? This useful practice can give you a major confidence boost too.

Clarify your job role and expectations

Poor outcomes aren’t always a result of mistakes that people make. Sometimes they occur due to a misunderstanding about one’s job role. Use negative feedback as a great opportunity to clarify expectations about your job position and everything your role entails. Don’t be passive, try to be proactive about understanding your role at work.

Maybe you didn’t understand what is expected of you, but it’s also possible that your supervisor or boss didn’t explain your task precisely. These things happen more often then we think and they don’t have to be a bad thing; they give all people involved a chance to discuss the problem to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Chance to improve the relationship with your boss

Successful performance of the entire department or company depends on good relationships between managers and members of their department. Manager’s job is to help you develop while your job is to bring results, it’s simple. Believe it or not, you can use negative feedback to deepen the relationship with your manager.

For instance, you can schedule regular meetings to discuss everything that went wrong, create a strategy to correct mistakes, and ensure everything is developing according to the plan. The more you understand each other, the easier it will be to finish future projects successfully.

Other things to do

  • Find a mentor and strengthen the relationship with co-workers
  • Dress for success, let your business fashion sense also boost your confidence and contribute to a positive outlook
  • Create a mantra or positive affirmation you’ll repeat whenever you receive negative feedback
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand where they’re coming from

Bottom line

Both positive and negative feedback is inevitable. It’s not always about the feedback itself, but how you understand it and what you do about those comments. Take them as an opportunity to learn, grow, improve the relationship with manager and co-workers. Yes, it will take time to get there, but with strong willpower and consistency, you’ll make it.