16 Ways To Change Your Negative Outlook On Feedback

Linda ReyesBlogging, Forbes Coaches Counsel

It’s not easy accepting feedback from another person. It can sometimes lead to negative feelings which makes people want to avoid it altogether. After all, no one likes being told that they aren’t right about something or that they’ve made a mistake. However, feedback is important to help us grow and become better people.

We asked members of the Forbes Coaches Council for their best advice on how to shift the mindset from one of dread to one of appreciation of feedback. The answers varied but are worth considering especially if feedback is something that you don’t usually take well.

1. Treat It Like An Exercise

Feedback often does not feel like “a gift” and is rarely easy. Similar to going to the gym, it’s required for building the muscles needed for growth. Even world-class athletes use coaches and videos to improve their technique. In fact, asking for and acting on feedback is a key indicator of leadership potential. Don’t miss out. Proactively get this scarce commodity and use it well. – Shoma ChatterjeeghSMART

2. Accept That It’s Essential For Being Your Best

The only way we become our best is getting repeated feedback on what we do well and where we can improve. When we accept this truth, we become less defensive and comfortable with being uncomfortable. Just like at the gym, we don’t improve our muscles if we are not pushed beyond our comfort zone. So even when we disagree with the criticism, find the kernel of truth and the opportunity for growth. – Christine Allen, Ph.DInsight Business Works

3. Welcome Criticism

Although criticism sets off our defensive or self-pitying reflexes, it can be the most important thing we hear. Instead of getting upset, think about your life or work as a scientific experiment in which you are trying to get and be better every day. The only guide we have is feedback. So critical feedback tells us what’s not working. It answers the question, “What should I work on next?” Eureka! – Amie DeveroEos Global, LLC

4. Assume Positive Intent

It’s human nature to take critical feedback personally, at least at first. We can train ourselves to take a step back and remind ourselves that the feedback giver’s intention is to help us be the best we can be. Who wouldn’t want to know how to do that? Carol Dweck’s research also tells us that we can focus on having a “growth” mindset versus a “fixed” one. A fixed mindset means we believe that talents and abilities are set in stone. If you believe this, critical feedback feels very personal because you’re not likely to believe you can grow and fix it. Commit to adopting a growth mindset! – Kathy BernhardKFB Leadership Solutions

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

5. Just Say Thank You

For most of us, the question isn’t “Do I desire feedback at this moment?” Feedback is coming our way whether we want it or not. What we can control is our response. Let the core of your response be a simple and authentic, “thank you.” This creates a mindset shift from “I am in trouble” to “I am so glad you let me know.” – Dean MilesBridgepoint Coaching & Strategy Group

6. Detach Your Emotions

Many times, people automatically think feedback or criticism will not be favorable. The basic human response to feeling critiqued is defense. However, detaching emotions allows us to accept the feedback as information based on someone’s perception. Once we make the mindset shift that any feedback or criticism we get is information, we can categorize it properly and make adjustments if needed. – Lori A. MannsQuality Media Consultant Group

7. Guide The Feedback

Feedback is a huge opportunity for individuals to grow. Giving feedback is a skill. And since no one wants to be criticized for their work, direct how you would like to receive feedback you are seeking. For example,”What did I do well and what could I do better or differently next time?” Get specific around the feedback you are asking for. If they deviate from that, simply redirect. – Kirsten BlakemorePartners In Leadership

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