Negative Feedback is Never Easy to Hear

Whenever we get negative feedback with regard to job performance, it’s never easy to hear, even if you expected the feedback. It can be even worse if you’re blindsided, thinking you’re doing a great job. While you may feel a major blow to your confidence initially, keep in mind that almost everyone gets some negative feedback at one point or another in their career, even successful people.

In reality, the best of managers are those that can communicate constructively areas that need improvement in a friendly, but firm, manner. Their goal is to help you improve, taking your work to the next level, so you can better manage your responsibilities. In some ways, negative feedback is a good thing, even if it doesn’t feel that way, preparing you for the future your manager can see for you.

HR professionals have shared exactly how to handle these situations, and what to do in the days and weeks that follow.

It’s not Personal

It really isn’t personal. Your manager is only trying to guide you, to develop you into a more valuable asset for their company. It does NOT mean they don’t like you. If your manager is giving you feedback, directing areas where you can become better and master a skill set, you should actually consider this a compliment of sorts. It won’t make it much easier to take, but if you can keep your focus on the fact that your manager cares enough to bother to try to improve your performance, it should make you feel better.

Especially when you realize that negative feedback gives you power. Feedback reveals a weakness and how you’re viewed in the workplace, giving you the opportunity to improve and become stronger. You’re also given the power to control your career, to redirect your path if you need to. Take the criticism and make it a positive.

Be sure you completely understand the feedback

When you’re dealing with negativity, it’s uncomfortable for both of you. Sometimes it’s difficult to hear everything that’s said because of the internal dialogue you may be having while emotions are high. It’s a situation that leaves massive space for miscommunication.

Try repeating the issues back to your manager and ensure you’re both on the same page regarding both the issue and what expectations are going forward. It’s a good chance to clarify any confusion you may have, as well as ask any questions you may have. You certainly don’t want to be off correcting the wrong issue.

If you actually disagree, do so carefully

A defensive response is common, especially if the feedback was a surprise. Mistakes sometimes happen, just not that often in feedback situations. If there is any chance the feedback is incorrect, ensure you have your facts straight. Be completely sure of the error before you voice any disagreement. If you’re confident in your position, be sure to push back gently, using plenty of diplomacy and tact. Managers are busy folk wearing multiple hats, but they are human. A strong manager will be able to recognize their mistake and be grateful for your insights.

Take the Initiative

If the feedback is accurate, then the best course of action is to move forward with a plan to correct the issue. By taking the initiative you demonstrate that you care about continuing to grow in your career and improving your performance. Take a couple of days to consider what you’ve been told and devise a strategy for addressing the raised issues. Ideally, once you’ve had some time to consider the situation you’ll be able to identify some things you can do to improve. Share your findings with your boss and he’ll appreciate that you’re taking the feedback seriously.

Long-term follow-up

It’s always recommended to follow-up after 30-60 days to reinforce that you haven’t forgotten the feedback and outline the changes you’ve made to improve. It demonstrates that you took the feedback seriously and that you care to improve. Follow these steps and you’ll surely have some positive feedback in your future!

Want to learn more about what hiring managers think? Professional staffing agencies have all inside scoop. And if you’re in IT in Dallas-Fort Worth, Maxsys Solutions can help you find a new job today.