How you respond to negative feedback can be the difference between success and derailment. The key is to not confuse feedback about your behavior with feedback about who you are. No one is good at everything. Consequently, we are all bound to get constructive feedback at some point in our lives. Of course, none of this minimizes the weight of negative feedback and the emotions that are triggered as a result.
To help you stay the course consider these strategies:
- Get comfortable with the discomfort. The natural response when we get information that feels personal and conflicts with how we see ourselves is hurt, disappointment, anger and even embarrassment. Do not swallow your emotions, it is okay to feel. Identify someone in your support system with whom you can vent and make plans for moving forward.
- Evaluate what it means to change. Reflect on the area in which you received the feedback and consider what doing something different would look like. Think about how you currently behave, then consider how you could change the behavior to show up more effectively. For example, suppose your airtime is too high in meetings (code for you talk too much). While it is probably not a good idea to stop talking completely, offering questions over commentary from time to time could be another way of showing up.
- Commit to changing. Hold yourself accountable for responding to the feedback. Take some time to consider what is possible and realistic for you. Ask others to support you in your efforts and circle back with the feedback provider with a plan and measures of success.