How to gain value from negative feedback


A common fear is the anticipation of negative feedback, especially after we express our opinion, step into the role of a thought leader, give advice, comment on a post, or be interviewed as an expert. Because of this we may have the tendency to hold back what we want to say, or stay small, or safe so that we won’t have to open ourselves up to that criticism.

Today, let’s look at feedback differently and how it can be of great value to us, in our personal and professional life. We'll look at what's behind those responses and how to gain value from it. 

Feedback is a source of valuable information that allows us to grow personally and professionally, gain more credibility, and fine tune our expertise. Although, we often cringe at the sight of it and get defensive when we receive comments that aren't positive. 

When someone gives us feedback they’re doing it for a reason. But their feedback can be mistaken for criticism because of their emotionally charged reaction to our message. Instead of taking the time to formulate a clear question, or communicating their point of view, they lash out at us. Mostly because we connected with them on a personal level and that made them aware of something they're dissatisfied with. 

If we determine why they're compelled to comment, then we can take a potentially negative situation and turn it into insight that will help us improve.

Here are four reasons people provide feedback:

  1. They’re seeking more clarity. What we said wasn’t enough for them to make a decision about what to do with our information. They relate to our message but need more direction or detail to help with the next step.
  2. What you said doesn’t align with their beliefs. They come to the table with different information and experiences that to them are true and familiar. When we say something that isn’t in alignment with their beliefs, they think that what you just said isn’t true and want to challenge you.
  3. They feel dismissed and not important. One of our biggest needs is to feel important to someone else. If someone feels that this need isn’t being met, they’ll speak loudly, and say things to gain attention so they feel important and noticed. 
  4. Our success is a reflection of them. They see us as a success and start to compare their level of success to ours. We may have reminded them that they haven’t achieved what they wanted to, and this makes them feel like a failure. So instead of building us up and supporting us, they choose to bring us down to make them feel better about themselves and look successful.

When we receive feedback ask these questions before responding:

  1. What is this person hoping to achieve by sending this message?
  2. Where can I be more clear in my communication?
  3. What can I learn from the message that’s being conveyed?
  4. How can we use this information to grow or improve?

Feedback is like gold, and if we can see it as valuable instead of judgement, then we can use it to our benefit. Receiving feedback is a gift from someone else, who cares enough to tell us that something is wrong. It tells us what we’re doing right and where we can improve.

I would much rather get negative feedback than no feedback at all

By communicating more defined messages, we're able to generate valuable feedback. If we remain vague and safe in our messages, then we confuse the listener and don’t provide any value. We fail to connect.

People want to experience your message, they want to relate to it, and to you. Don’t deny them that opportunity. Create an authentic experience that'll connect you to your audience on a deeper level, and then you’ll create an authentic success model.

Thanks for reading my blog! Please leave a comment or share this with others who would find it useful. And by the way, if you haven't already, I'd love to keep in touch! So please subscribe and I'll be sure to send you some more valuable info a couple of times a month. Have a good one!

How can Success Coaching assist you with your goals?

Christine Hourd,  Associate Certified Coach and owner of The Success Model, works with clients to help them reach their goals more rapidly. By improving how they communicate with themselves and others they more easily remove the roadblocks that impede success in their personal and professional life. Book an appointment to discuss how success coaching can benefit you. 

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