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How to Respond to Negative Feedback in (Almost) Any Possible Scenario

By | Aja Frost |

Wouldn’t it be awesome if the only feedback we got from our co-workers and bosses was glowing? Unfortunately, for most of us, feedback is a pretty equal mix of positive and negative. With the good also comes the “Here’s what I’d like to see you improve upon…”

While it’s unlikely you’ll ever get away from criticism (constructive or otherwise), you can change the way to respond to it. And your response will have a huge impact not only on your reputation, but also your overall morale.

Check out these ways to graciously accept it:

If You Made a Mistake

Say, “Thank you so much for pointing that out. I’m going to [fix that error immediately/do things differently going forward/adjust my work accordingly].”

When you’ve messed up, it’s important to show humility, while also demonstrating how you’ll learn from your slip.

If You’re Not Sure She’s Right

Say, “You raise some really interesting points, and I’ll definitely take them into consideration. I appreciate your help!”

You definitely don’t want to brush the person off, but you also don’t want to commit to a change or action you don’t believe in. This response is polite and appreciative without forcing you to make any promises. Also if it turns out she is right, you won’t have to apologize later on for steamrolling over her feedback.

Note: You probably don’t want to use this one with anyone who’s superior to you. Instead, go with: “I hadn’t thought of that, and I’m going to look into it right away.”

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