How to respond to negative feedback from employees – News Couple
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How to respond to negative feedback from employees


Employees are not the only ones who can receive feedback about their performance at work. As a manager or business leader, it is important that you receive feedback from your employees so that you can understand how you are performing and what you need to do to improve it. Although every manager hopes for positive feedback, they may still receive negative feedback from time to time, and how they respond to those feedback can really make a difference.

If an employee thinks you’re not doing your best and reports it to you, there are some steps you should take to address the complaint the right way. Below, eight members of the Young Entrepreneur Council explain what leaders should do after receiving negative comments.

1. Treat all notes as gold

Getting feedback, good or bad, should be treated as gold. First, make sure the employee feels safe giving feedback on a regular basis. There are many tools like Officevibe, 15Five, etc. which are great for this. Second, respond to all comments and make sure your team is listening. Third, gain perspective. Don’t be afraid to dig into the comments and see what you can do to improve. Best feedback from your team. Listen to them, take action and show them that you not only value their contributions, but also do something about it and improve your business, leadership, management, etc. – Magnus Simonarson, Consultwebs

2. Isolate the core issue

Understand what drives their concerns before trying to “solve the problem.” Usually, notes can be isolated to a core issue. It could be a process issue, a communication issue, a staff issue, etc. Once isolated, paraphrase the employee’s notes within this problem to confirm that what you’ve discovered aligns with how he feels. My goal is “I want to make sure I heard this accurately…” Once the underlying issue is confirmed, you can work on a solution. This process is important because it validates the employee’s concerns, shows that you take continuous improvement seriously, and most importantly it engages the employee in the process. This will make them feel that their opinions matter (because they are) and make the workplace a better environment for everyone. – Liam Leonard, DML Capital

3. Take a deep breath

As with anything unpleasant, when we receive negative feedback, the sudden reaction is to push it aside as quickly as possible. It is very easy to rush to a response. However, a lot depends on taking a breath and taking a step back to look at what was shared – not only for the relationship but also for your self-awareness. Ask yourself: Is there some truth in what they said? Was there a misunderstanding? Could the communication have been stronger than it was? Treat criticism as a golden opportunity to meet someone in their place, figure out what you can do better in the future and learn something valuable about yourself in the process. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

4. Listen carefully

Listen and really understand what they are saying. Even if you think they’ve lost a piece of context, keep listening. Make sure they feel heard. Only after that you can begin to address the problem. You may not treat it right away. It is very important that you say, “Thank you for those comments. Let me think about this for a day or two.” This is more useful than trying to respond right away. When you get negative feedback, make sure the person giving the feedback feels heard and that you thank them for it. This will encourage them to keep raising issues. Let it rest for a few days, and only after that, come back and share the context or share what you’re doing to improve the situation. – Cody Candy, Bounce

5. Take it to a neutral third party

Transferring negative feedback to a neutral third person can create a powerful opportunity for the leader to gain some insight. The mentor might explore the comments from a different angle or ask related questions to paraphrase what was said. If you can get someone’s point of view that is unbiased and rooted in your work, they can point out errors and assumptions in the comments – as well as real insights that you can learn from. Take some time to think and get outside feedback. As you see more angles to the story, you will have material to think about and can then make changes based on a well-thought-out logical understanding of the poor feedback you’ve received. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

6. Show appreciation and then change

Show your true appreciation and then actually change your behavior. It’s one thing to thank someone for your feedback and then go back to your normal habits, but if you can really make a change based on the feedback and acknowledge that their feedback is why you made that change, it will help people feel more comfortable giving feedback in the future. This is something I’m trying to do and I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I know it’s very important because I really appreciate any critical feedback from those I work with. It’s the only way I can learn and grow as a leader. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.

7. Try not to let your emotions lead you

Do not react now. This is perhaps one of the hardest things to do because we usually get over pain and fear – pain that a close team member thinks is bad of us and fears that we might be too incompetent to take on that leadership role. If anyone says otherwise, they are wonderful human beings, not self-aware or likely lying. We as human beings aren’t necessarily designed to receive criticism well, and it takes a great deal of care and an intentional approach to receiving feedback without completely breaking us. When I say don’t react, I mean don’t get defensive there or obsess over negative feedback. As far as Part Two sounds, it’s possible. Take your time to calm down and you will react better. Don’t let emotions drive you. — Samuel Timothy, OneIMS

8. Lead by example

As a manager and business leader, it is important to lead by example. If you expect your employees to accept criticism in the right way in order to make beneficial changes, then when it is up to you about how to supervise them, you should not be defensive and should be prepared to either modify or explain why you disagree so that they understand your reasoning in the way you are leading. A professional will not react like a child and will always listen to criticism in a balanced manner. – Michael Sininsky, WeShield



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