How to Respond Negative Feedback

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26Aug 2020

How to Respond Negative Feedback


Obtaining regular feedback from employees is imperative to understand the state of employees and the extent of their engagement. This constitutes receiving feedback on various aspects including the performance of functional as wells as HR managers and the perception employees hold about the organisation’s culture, environment, their own motivational level, etc. Needless to say, managers who seek regular feedback from their employees are termed as better leaders than those who do not.


However, it is not always the rosy picture that gets painted there may be pinpoints on certain pain areas. For instance, an HR manager solicits feedback from employees only to figure out that they are unhappy with the way their manager talks to them. Now, this gets really tough to keep the employees happy and onboard by considering modification of certain management practices. Majorly to ensure that the feedback process was of some significance and the employees do not feel unheard and ignored, an action has to be taken.


So, if you happen to receive some negative feedback from your employees, take care of a few things that can help you manage it more effectively without getting offended:



Take your time to respond: When people face criticism the instant reaction is to confront the person. Being overwhelmed by emotions you tend to feel that you are personally attacked for those shortcomings and you say certain things that you might regret later. Hence, whenever such a situation arises take yourself away from that place for sometime so that you get space to reconcile your emotional upheaval before giving any response.


Have acceptance of your shortcomings: You can work on your shortcomings only when you accept that they do exist. When an employee gives a negative feedback he has presumably exhibited extreme courage in pointing out something that has been bothering him/her for a long time. Hence, by just accepting that there may be a possibility of existence of such an issue gives way to a hundred solutions to a single problem. 


Give genuine importance to employee perspective: When you have taken an initiative to seek the feedback from your employee, he or she has complete freedom and liberty to express his/her views. You may not stand fair raising any questions against their expression of thought. Hence, it is not only important to conduct a survey or feedback process, but also to show genuine concern for the perspective of your employees. The way you react to a negative feedback tells how indisputably interested you are in them.


Understand that feedback is to make you better: Once you are able to create that acceptance within you and your team that all feedback is good whether negative or positive, you will stand a high chance to improve your work culture, management policies and employee engagement, subsequently. Hence, it is important to understand that negative feedback is far better than no feedback. There are many to tell what is good in you, but what needs improvement comes from only a few who take that risk of endangering their impression or position in the organisation.


Investigate the reasons for such feedback: It is not always required to start acting towards the negative feedback that you receive. What is more important is to investigate and find out the reason behind such a feedback and the degree of its authenticity. At this juncture let a team professionally equipped in carrying out the investigation take the task forward, so that the entire process in unbiased and rational. There may be certain legalities associated with some issues which can be better handled by professional investigators.


Involve a neutral third party: Involving a neutral third party makes it all the more easier to see the case from a neutral perspective. This majorly ensures that all the parties involved are treated free of biases and prejudices. Also, it gives a larger horizon for seeking workable solutions towards any critical issues identified during the investigation.


Take necessary action that genuinely helps: Getting to the root of the issue is not enough in itself to show your genuineness in seeking employee feedback. What is equally important is to find out a practicable solution to that problem and implement essential modifications as soon as possible. Only when necessary action is taken on the feedback received will the people place trust in the HR as well as the organisation as a whole.


Pay attention to even a single negative feedback: You may be overjoyed on receiving 99 positive feedback, and may not pay heed to that one negative feedback that has been sought from one odd courageous man or woman. Paying it least attention, we keep it aside assuming: Perhaps! One negative review counts for no negative review. But mind you, even that single negative comment gives you insight into what is that one thing that can make you the best. Hence, instead of ignoring it, take it as a ticket to perfection, which may still be far-fetched, as improvement is an ongoing process.


Form a positive attitude towards negative feedback: Treat this entire process of receiving a negative feedback, handling and managing it with prudence, as an experience to change your attitude towards it. Carrying a positive attitude towards negative feedback will have a propensity revealing constructive aspects of even a negative statement and shall give you a reason to act upon it and improve further.


Be ready for more feedback: A manager shows signs of true leadership when he is not deterred by the negative or unsought for reviews received from his employees, and keeps the battle going for more such feedback that can help him improve to be a better leader. Hence, encourage your employees more to talk themselves out and not hesitate in giving even a negative feedback whenever need arises.


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