4 principles for responding to negative feedback

If you are not ever receiving negative feedback about what you are doing you have a problem. You are either not trying anything risky or people aren’t invested enough to care about what you are doing. So we must have a plan for how to attend to negative feedback.

 Four principles for responding to negative feedback:

1. Lean in. Respond quickly and by phone.Don’t avoid or respond defensively, there is no reason to. If someone is willing to give feedback they are your partner not your adversary.

2. Say thank you first. You should be grateful they care enough to offer feedback. You should be grateful they chose to tell you rather than holding it in or complaining about you to others.

3. Always say I’m sorry. Own whatever part of the feedback you can sincerely take responsibility for.  This must be sincere and will inevitably be disarming.

4. Learn what you can and move on. Don’t let it bother you or rob you of any emotional energy that you need for more important tasks. Your emotional energy is the most valuable resource you have and you must manage it accordingly.

If feedback is a personal attack you should engage with the person giving that feedback once or at most twice. If there is a pattern of personal attacks from that person than perhaps you should not continue to engage. But be slow to define feedback as personal, most of the time it is not.

Anything you would add? Change?

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