Criticism and negative feedback can be a blow to our egos, and leave us feeling defensive or less-than capable. But every bit of feedback provides a challenge to become better. Having (or developing) a growth mindset can put you on the higher road to success.
Feedback by email can often seem harsher than reality intended, because it is point blank. There are no facial or social cues to ease the blow. So it can come off feeling cold and negative, when it may have simply been intended as an encouraging nudge in the right direction.
The way you respond to criticism is a reflection not only of your professionalism, but also of your ability to accept, earn, and grow. Whether your manager worded the email well or not, you can choose how you respond—and you can respond like a business superstar.
The next time you receive an email giving you some feedback, view it as an opportunity to show what you’re really made of. Try out these responses, then go out and grow.
“I really appreciate you pointing that out. I will fix that right away/moving forward.”
This is a great response when you know that you made a mistake. It’s natural to become defensive and want to make excuses. But by humbly owning up to your mistake you will demonstrate that you’re teachable and open to growth.
“I hadn’t realized it was a problem. Thank you for bringing it up and telling me. I really appreciate that.”
Your boss may have just saved you years of going in the wrong direction. You can graciously let them know that you got their message, and then take the steps to change.
“You’re right. I didn’t put much time into that project. I thought X project was top priority. Did I misunderstand that?”
Accept responsibility when you know the feedback is true. You can feel free to explain further why you chose to make a certain decision, just steer clear of defensiveness. An explanation can demonstrate you were acting responsibly, despite it being under the wrong suppositions
“I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Can I have a bit of time to think about it, and then follow up with you in a few days to discuss?”
Sometimes, the feedback might be really tough to hear. Responding on the spot could be dicey, especially if emotions are high. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you need some time to process. Just make sure you do
circle back rather than letting it slide under the rug.
“I’m sorry you’re unhappy. Would changing X improve the problem?”
The best criticisms are followed by actionable steps you can take to change the situation. But sometimes a
manager might be blunt about how they feel. If this happens, don’t take it personally. Just flip it into a growth opportunity, and show your boss that you’re willing to do what it takes.
Being able to accept and respond professionally to feedback can create an open door to communication—which is vital for maintaining a good relationship and good standing with your manager.
To access your AWP EAP services, call 1-800-343-3822. Your EAP is here to help with family, work, health and legal issues. EAP Services are provided at no cost and are 100% confidential.
Alliance Work Partners is a professional service of Workers Assistance Program, Inc.
Copyright © 2022 Workers Assistance Program, Inc.