Negative feedback is often not in line with your own self-image. You might not even recognize it.
If you are confronted with this kind of negative feedback you may choose to ignore it. But you can also choose to examine the feedback and use it to your advantage.
Negative feedback is useful to achieve you goals quicker and more effectively together with other people. How do you do this?
Accept and use negative feedback
In the first place it’s only possible to use negative feedback after you have first accepted it. In our opinion its necessary, if only for practical reasons, to learn how to accept that people say or do certain things without remaining stuck in feeling hurt or having your self-confidence permanently damaged.
Much is to be gained here in inner calm and the self-confidence that you are able to give an adequate response. To make this possible you need to learn how you accept negative feedback. More about this later.
Once you have accepted the negative feedback you can then use it to your advantage. Negative feedback enables you to learn how you can achieve your goal more easily with these people.
What is feedback?
In a certain way feedback is nothing more than information that people give you. It’s information about what they need so you can achieve your goal.
Of course we are not talking here about feedback that goes against your values and against the normal rules of behaviour. We’re talking about normal feedback that people give you about your behaviour, as they experience it.
Feedback says something about what people need from you
Why do you sometimes find it hard to accept negative feedback, or even find it hard to recognize? This is because you behave the way you do directed by your own point of view and worldview. Other people look at you from their own point of view and perspective. Apparently, from their point of view, they need other things from you than you are giving them.
Their experience does not need to be true or even correct. It’s true for them, and thereby becomes valuable information about what they need.
An adequate response to negative feedback
As we said before, it’s necessary first to accept the feedback others give you, however painful that may be.
Accept that other people operate from a different reality: their own. Their feedback is not necessarily ‘true’, but it is true for them.
Examine how you can deal with this information in a manner that is suitable to who you are. Often it is very helpful to engage a coach in the process of learning how to deal with negative feedback.
In the process of accepting that the reality of other people is a given the coach will teach you the right self-management skills. Good coaching will help you to apply these. You do this while confronting what people say and do in the situations you want to be able to deal with.
The coach acts as a guide. At the same time the coach represents those aspects of other people’s behaviour you find it difficult to handle. You receive the feedback, the information and the skills to adapt your behaviour in a suitable way. Suitable means it fits with who you are, while you will be able to give others what the need in a natural manner.
You will find the self-confidence to deal with situations and interactions where before you were not, or insufficiently so.
In a way, you should be happy that you are getting negative feedback. These people take the trouble to inform you how you can get better at achieving your goal. (Often people don’t even give you feedback directly – they do however share their point of view with others. A coach can play a role here as well – by letting you experience how others might perceive you).
After you have learned to accept that others have their own point of view, you are able to start using their feedback as valuable information. Your behaviour and how these people perceive it might be a missing link between you and achieving your goal.
Look at it as a kind of instruction manual. If you want to achieve a certain goal with these people, you need to take into account what they need from you. Find out what it is they need, and then find a way to give them what they need in a way that fits with who you are. You’ll get ahead together.
Take advantage of our coaching offer
Dealing with negative feedback and using it to your advantage is a soft skill. Applying this soft skill takes resilience, as well as a certain self-insight and self-confidence. As indicated in the article above, coaching in applying this skill to use negative feedback to your advantage is very helpful. Look at our coaching offer and see if we are the coach for you.
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