Guest Post by Kyle O’Brien

3391754Show me an employee who’s never had to deal with negative feedback at work, and I’ll show you a unicorn. No one’s perfect. No one coasts through work without ever hearing one bad comment directed at their work, their idea on a project, etc. Critiques are a part of the business fabric. Some deal with criticism very well; others…not so much. And if you find yourself in the latter group, you must change your ways for both the sake of your company’s productivity and for whatever hopes you have of advancing up the career ladder.

How to Deal with Negative Feedback in a Clean and Professional Manner

Listening Is An Art Form

When your idea gets deconstructed in a meeting, you start to feel the world’s going to collapse and therefore do everything in your power to put your idea front and center again. All the while, you’re not listening. I’ve been guilty of it countless times. I ignore someone’s critique and just think only about what I’m going to say. Never mind that he or she’s point may have some validity – my comment’s going to shake things up. But it never does.

Constructive criticism between two people needs four ears, not two.

Scale Back Your Emotions

Being passionate in your work is an endearing quality in the eyes of your boss. But what isn’t so very endearing is getting overly passionate in your defense against negative feedback. If you have the “I’ll show you!” approach any time criticism surfaces, it starts to paint you in an unprofessional light. If you feel you have a point to make, you can still be direct about it. Just do it in a calmer tone.

Don’t Always Assume Everyone’s Out to Get You

Okay, so you dropped the ball on a project. A performance review looms next week. You start to panic so much and may accidentally let your imagination get the best of you. Conspiracy theories start to set in on why you aren’t entirely to blame, that it was another co-worker’s undoing that led to your poor marks.

Don’t play the blame game when sitting down in front of your boss. It’ll only cause more riffs throughout the office and will dampen the spirit behind your company culture because you’re laying down a roadmap of distrust. If you have to discuss someone’s apparent blunder, talk to that person face-to-face and be done with it.

Take It For What It Is

Think of all criticism as little words of encouragement instead of a calculated slight against your entire work. Put pride to the side for the time being and understand everyone in that office is working to help the business flourish, first and foremost.

Do Something With It

Don’t let someone’s criticism rattle around your brain for the rest of the day. Once you get back to your desk, it’s time to get motivated and make a plan right then and there to work on whatever it is you fouled up. If you received poor marks on how a project was put together, become more detailed how you map out projects and collaborate with everyone. Not being direct enough with others? Take a course on how to be more vocal to your team.

No matter how big or small the issue is, just be proactive to change.

Image: Veer, rights reserved.

Guest Author

Kyle O'BrienKyle O’Brien is the Community Manager for an e-learning company, ej4, and has written many articles concerning daily workplace struggles, how to improve one’s leadership abilities and how to motivate employees the right way. Follow them on Google + for more.