Get Back Up: How to Take Negative Feedback

Most of us crave feedback, we want to know if we are doing a good job and if we are on the right track. But what about when the feedback is not so rosy? In your career you will get both positive and negative feedback (hopefully less of the negative!). You need to be prepared for feedback that is critical and handle it properly. Read on for my tips on how to handle negative feedback for the best results.


When someone is giving you negative feedback, don't shut down and drown them out. Listen to what they are saying. Take it in and analyze their observations. Typically they want you to improve, so they are letting you know that you currently are not on the right track. Negative feedback happens to everyone at some point, no one is perfect.

Avoid Being Defensive

When hearing that you are doing something wrong, it can feel natural to defend yourself. Avoid having an answer for everything and trying to put blame on other people. The worst thing you can do is say something along the lines of "well Susie makes the same mistakes as me and she isn't being talked to." First of all, what your co-workers are or aren't doing, has nothing to do with your performance. Secondly, maybe they are talking to Susie too! You wouldn't know if they were, it isn't something they would be sharing with you. So focus on the examples they are giving you and ask for examples on what you should have done and what you can do in the future to improve.

Learn From It

The most important part of receiving negative feedback is in how you use it. As uncomfortable as it can be to hear, it is actually a gift to you. Now you have the opportunity to change your actions and get on the right track. Or if you completely disagree with the assessment after considering from a neutral position, you know it's time to move on. One of the biggest lessons I learned was from negative feedback in my internship for teaching. I listened and learned and what I came to was that it wasn't for me! Sometimes that is the conclusion. For me, it was the right one. I am much happier and more successful in my Human Resources path and I can thank the negative feedback I received to put me on the right path for me!