Handling negative feedback, be it from an employee, a colleague, or a friend, is one of the most difficult challenges you’ll face as a leader. Here’s how to do it right.
Keep Your First Reaction in Check
Let’s face it: nobody likes criticism. No matter how experienced or how self-assured you are, a negative reaction is a hard pill to swallow. That’s why it’s important not to react impulsively to criticism. Instead, adopt an inquisitive mindset. Ask questions and try to understand where the other person is coming from.
Adopt a Constructive Attitude
Handling your immediate reaction to criticism is important, but it’s just a small fraction of what’s expected from you as a leader. Keep a constructive attitude and don’t take things personal. Playing the victim, pointing fingers, or trying to shift the blame will only undermine your leadership. Look at criticism for what it is: an opportunity for your organization —and yourself— to evolve.
Create an Action Plan
Criticism is useful but only if you are able to translate it into actions. After receiving criticism, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the root cause of the problem?
- What other factors contribute to the problem?
- What changes can we implement to solve the problem?
Conversations that involve negative feedback can be stressful even when they remain cordial. So don’t expect to come up with these answers immediately. You’ll probably need time to process the criticism and find a solution. What’s indispensable, however, is that you are committed to making the necessary changes.
More Tips and Ideas
From returning to the office after the pandemic to the right structure for your business and everything in between, these are some previous posts you can check out for more ideas on how to lead with confidence:
- 3 Easy, low-cost strategies to get your business noticed online
- Tips to win the war for talent
- How to use social media to grow your career
- 3 Tips to prevent and address employee burnout
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