Don’t react right away
Too often, people’s first instinct when hearing critical feedback is to defend them – to explain why their manager’s assessment is wrong or why there were extenuating circumstances or simply to disagree.
It’s certainly possible that your manager is wrong or that special circumstances were in play – but it’s not helpful to leap straight there. If you do, you’ll make it harder for yourself to truly hear and process the feedback, and you’re more likely to come across as defensive rather than open to input. Instead, focus at first on just listening.
Actively show that you’re open to the feedback
Giving critical feedback is hard, and many managers are nervous when they do it. The more you show that you are open to the conversation, the easier it will go for both of you–and the more likely you are to draw out additional useful information.
If you simply absorb the input in silence, your manager might not have any idea what you’re thinking or whether you’re angry or upset or you disagree. Instead, try saying something like: “I really appreciate you telling me this. I didn’t realise this was a problem, and I’m grateful that you raised it.”
Understand what the person’s concerns are
Every feedback, whether negative or positive, comes from somewhere. Something you said or did make the person react this way. You can choose to ignore the feedback, but then you’ll never know what it that triggered the person was. This means there’s a possibility of this issue recurring in the future.
Use active listening and understand where he/she is coming from
Sometimes it’s tough to absorb critical feedback on the spot or to figure out how you want to respond. If that’s the case, it’s fine to say something like: “I really appreciate you telling me this. Would it be OK if I took some time to think about this and then circled back to you in a few days with my thoughts?” Of course, then make sure that you really do circle back. At that point, the onus will be on you to raise the topic again. If you don’t, you’ll look like you’re shirking a tough conversation or not be taking it seriously.
Recognise receiving negative feedback is a positive thing
Negative feedback also tells us our opportunities for growth. No matter where we are in life, all of us will have blind spots we don’t know about. These blind spots prevent us from reaching the next stage of growth. While negative feedback may not be pleasant to receive, they give us a different perspective to consider. By learning from more different perspectives, we can grow much faster.