Negative Feedback: 7 things to do when…

negative feedback

Receiving a negative feedback is never a pleasant experience.

You work hard to create a quality product and seeing your actions judged negatively can lead to anger and frustration. These are negative reactions that later can also compromise our performance.

Moreover, even though feedback can often be given objectively and with the truest intentions, it can also be inaccurate or harmful. For example, it may come from a colleague who wants to cause trouble, from a boss who has completely unachievable expectations, from an employee who is afraid to tell the truth, etc.

In any case it is difficult, indeed, to understand what is real and what should be filtered.

There are many resources that suggest how to ask for feedback, but there are relatively few indications on how to react to negative feedback received.

What you need to know is that if you are able to turn a negative feedback into something positive, it can become key for success.

How to face a negative feedback

And for those who are really averse to negative feedback, there is an excellent alternative: no negative feedback, none at all.

Is it everybody’s dream? Of course, except that the lack of feedback can only mean one of two things:

  • Work is generally good but people aren’t developing their skills any more.
  • Work is bad, but nobody says it.

And neither of these two scenarios is positive when your goal is to grow professionally and progress in your career.

So here are 7 ways to turn negative reviews into positive results.

Facing negative feedback: Better safe than sorry

When a product is to be released, especially if it is new, the project manager must already think ahead by providing stakeholders and clients with as much information as possible.

This will help to avoid a lot of questions during the project lifecycle and negative reviews at output delivery.

Facing negative feedback: Remember that you cannot please everyone

Negative reviews can happen to everyone. No matter how good a product may be, there will always be people who think it could have been done better. After all, sympathies and antipathies are just subjective opinions and someone will always be unhappy.

Facing negative feedback:  Make the right researches

When you get negative feedback, do not panic, it is not the end of the world!

It is important to make a research afterwards: if the complaint is reasonable enough, it is worth to discuss it, make a Root cause Analysis and try to improve what can be improved.

The most important thing is, therefore, to find the reason why this negative experience occurred.

Be aware that you cannot respond to feedback until you really understand it. Especially when you hear something new, it is usually a wise idea to ask some reliable sources for confirmation. Just ask them if they have noticed the same behavior or error.

This way of working not only provides you with more details about the action affected by negative feedback, but also helps to avoid over-correction based on a single person’s opinion.

Facing negative feedback: Give a prompt response

Ignoring negative feedback won’t just make it disappear, it will only make things worse.

Clearly this does not mean that you should respond to a criticism the very moment you receive it. Leaving your computer, taking a deep breath and having a moment for yourself, can be normal and even beneficial at first, especially if the feedback is about a very important factor.

Finding an activity that helps you disconnect for a moment, can improve your mood when confronted with the response processing.

However, this does not mean waiting for months. It must be done within a reasonable timeframe, depending on the gravity of the problem.

That said, the faster you deal with a negative review, the easier it will be to handle the next discussion and clear up any possible misunderstanding. Customer experience will benefit from this.

Facing negative feedback: Ask and listen

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, contact those who gave that negative feedback and find out exactly what didn’t work for them.

Naturally, some answers can be quite harsh, but don’t judge and don’t let your emotions take over.

Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes could be useful to understand their point of view and better understand the cause of the negative feedback.

face negative feedback

Facing negative feedback: Take your responsibilities

Mistakes are a natural part of human efforts and you should not be afraid to admit guilt.

The more responsible you are for your actions, the more credible you will be and the more people will trust you.

Making mistakes is human – as long as you don’t make them over and over again.

Facing negative feedback: Learn and solve the problem

Negative reviews can be an important source of knowledge.

They can help the project team find any missing links to product development and make it better than ever.

You should try to respond proactively, track the criticism received, bit by bit, and provide a solution to each one. You should avoid getting defensive and be good at keeping the points concise.

When you move on to solving the problem, you must do so with positive energy. This can make the process much more effective.

Transforming a negative Feedback into an asset

As the famous saying goes:

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem

So, those who are afraid of negative reviews must change their attitude and consider constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Negative feedback is a chance to improve your weaknesses and bring the quality of your work and product to a new level.

A study demonstrated that we tend to avoid people who have given us negative feedback.

It may seem easier to consider yourself as the victim in a huge workplace conspiracy, but getting away from people who tell the truth and give negative but constructive feedback is a big mistake.

In this regard, negative feedback can be a great pretext for restoring relationships and, with the right approach, the greatest critics can become the best motivators.

Ask, listen, improve.

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