Have you ever received negative feedback from something you have said or done? Me neither (Just kidding). I wish I could have all those hours of sleep back that I lost worrying about a comment or email someone had sent me.
Picture this. You have prepared for an event, planned it perfectly and executed it with precision. In fact, on the “Event Evaluation Form” that was handed out you received 10’s across the board from most people and a written note of praise from many of them. There were more than a hundred people confirming your effort, commitment and success of the event. However...
There is that one comment. You know the one. That one comment that stopped just short of talking about your mom. That comment that paints you as the worst person in history. Here is a real life example of what I am talking about. A comment from someone who had constructive criticism for a communicator.
"Poor communicator. He used his time to do mediocre isogesis of Bible stories and referenced topics in sociology and personality theory, but it was obvious he had not done enough in depth homework for it to be helpful. I was very dissatisfied with this session."
Yes. I was the communicator.
It wasn’t the first negative comment I have received.
It wasn’t the worst negative comment I have received.
It won’t be the last negative comment I will receive.
How do we respond to negative feedback? Here are four thoughts.
Keep The Right Perspective
Keep a healthy perspective when you receive negative feedback. Pain gives us perspective, doesn’t it? There are some people who are so negative it’s like they’re earning an award for it. They feel compelled to “help” you with their constructive criticism and honest response. Remember, you can’t please everyone. Keep calm and carry on. It’s one comment, not a life critique.
Put It In A Box
Put those comments in a box. Not to dwell on them but to use them. They may be painful now but they will be priceless later. In twenty years you will have a book or a blog that can help someone else who has received a negative comment.
Ignore The Note
This may seem unconventional but the simple fact is, they are wrong. Someone once told me, “Craig, there’s a little bit of truth in every criticism.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes people are just wrong. Listen. If you receive 100 comments and 1 of them is negative, move on. If you receive 100 comments and only 1 is positive then move up and try again. A negative comment isn’t the end of something you did but the beginning of something you will do.
Embrace The Learning
While not all comments are 100% truthful that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something. How about an attitude of humility? How about courage to keep going? How about a sense of humor? How about emotional resilience or gumption, tenacity, grit, commitment, resolve, or the ability to overcome and continue? Embrace that comment, make a change and keep going.
We don’t ever want to develop a callous approach to negative feedback always assuming the writer is wrong, having a bad day, expressing a negative attitude or just wanting to vent. What we should strive for is a tough skin and a sensitive heart. Here are two thoughts to take with you.
Don’t let negative feedback define you, let it develop you.
Don’t let negative feedback make you bitter, let it make you better.
How about you? Haver you ever received negative feedback? How did you respond?