How to Accept Negative Feedback

Receiving positive feedback from a peer, colleague or manager is easy; all you have to say is, “Thank you”. Receiving negative feedback is difficult for many people. Despite the good intentions that may be behind the message, negative feedback often comes across as a criticism. We often react to negative feedback with defensiveness instead of learning from the situation. We must remember that most people are hesitant to give others negative feedback, so when they do, they may be informing us about a behavior that other people have noticed, but were reluctant to say anything about. The next time you receive negative feedback, follow these steps: 

  •  Listen without interrupting and thank the person for bringing the issue to your attention.
  • Agree with at least a small part of what you heard. Say, “You may be right about that”.
  • Clarify what was said by asking for specific examples.
  • Determine if there is a “grain of truth” to the feedback. Try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view.
  • Turn the feedback into a positive opportunity for improvement. Identify what you will begin to do differently in the future.

Work on accepting negative feedback this week!

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1 Comment

  1. Sugel

    Thick skin they say. Well about the rejection process when it comes to submitting to journals or to publishers. No one warns you about negative people and feedback no one says There will be people who work for themselves at your expense. Let me be the first to tell you that people are ugly spiteful and selfish in the writing field that thick skin you have will need to be thicker if you want to exist inside this field especially with all that talent and potential you show.. The up side is that the academic field conditions you for this life. As with any field the politics get ridiculous sometimes and I think it is worse were there is a competitive atmosphere and a shrinking market. It seems that writing is more popular than reading nowadays and this conundrum can put one writer at another writers throat. Ive seen not only students say and do cruel things to each other but Ive also witnessed instructors do the same. If you show potential people are going to come after youits a part of the game. The academic field gives students that space to negotiate boundaries with one another. You must endure the criticism even the unjust criticism and push forward to meet your own goals..As I mentioned above I wished someone had warned me of this phenomenon so I knew what to expect. I appreciated the warnings of rejection slips and the advice to thicken my skin to that process I could have used the same advice to negotiate the field as well. I think that maybe people are hesitant to talk about the negative people and feedback because of the politics. But we are artists! Right? We rebel against injustice! For that reason and many more we should speak our mind about criticism for negativitys sake verses criticism for growth. If you base your feedback in a strengths-based system all your feedback will be for the growth of both writers the one giving the feedback and the one getting the feedback . Unfortunately there are many too many who give feedback without any regard for anyone other than themselves. .


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