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How do you handle negative feedback?

By | David Klaasen | Helping You Create Clarity, Inspire Your People & Drive Performance | Retain your best people | Changing Management Mindsets and Behaviour | Practical Behaviour Analytics

Receiving negative feedback is never easy but by managing your thinking and your emotions it is possible to use it positively. It’s all about perceptions and what you make it mean. If you think about it, all of the most successful people have simply made more mistakes and had more negative feedback than others . . . but they never let it get them down.

Negative feedback can take many forms but in many ways it is an important part of life; things don’t always run smoothly, we aren’t always right and there are always lessons to be learned – even if we don’t always like it.

Resilience is key

Developing resilience is the key to success in the rough and tumble of being in business. In equestrian circles they say that if you fall off your horse you need to get back on it right away so you don’t dwell on it and let it destroy your confidence.

There is something very powerful about being able to turn negative feedback into a positive lesson but it takes courage and a willingness to accept that we aren’t perfect, and that it is OK not to be. Success is not about avoiding negative feedback, it’s about responding effectively to it.

One way to avoid negative feedback is to avoid having any aspirations or ambition and to never try anything new. But even that may produce negative consequences because these days if you stand still you will be rapidly taken over by the competition; be that for a job role, a promotion or winning a new client. Playing safe is no longer an option!

It’s not what happens but how you respond

Back in 1994 my first escapade into self-employment came to an end because I had only two main clients. One died owing me money and the other was sold by its parent company so the major project I was working on was ditched and I was left with no work and no client base. That was very tough, especially when I had to take a loan from my sister to pay my rent. But I didn’t dwell on it. I had to take on board that my first business didn’t work out as planned. My ego was a bit bruised but it was also feedback to ‘do something different’ so I looked in the mirror and recognised that I needed to establish a steady cashflow and get more experience as a Trainer . . . so I got a job! After all, in reality there is no failure only feedback, and it’s not about what happens but how you respond to it.

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