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Respond to hurtful criticism

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Even well-meaning feedback can be unsettling, but when people share it at the wrong time or place or in the wrong way, it can be downright hurtful. Follow these tips to take the sting out of the feedback—and go on to benefit from it:

Jot down some notes. If possible, do so during the feedback session. If not take down some notes afterward. The process turns on your logical brain and turns off your emotions, so that you can analyze—and act on—what has been said to you.

Confirm you understand. Ask questions or ask the person to explain his or her feedback. You don’t want to challenge the other person or defend yourself. The goal here is to completely understand the other person’s perspective and what you’ve done to warrant the negative feedback.

Talk about solutions. The criticizer shouldn’t get away with just criticizing you. Ask him or her what you need to do differently. If people refuse to share ideas, offer your own solutions, and ask them to confirm they’re agreeable.

— Adapted from “Workplace Success Tips: 5 Ways to Bounce Back When Feedback Hurts,” Shanita Williams, Southern New Hampshire University, www.snhu.edu.

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