How to handle feedback effectively

Learning the correct way to respond to feedback can do wonders! A psychologist shares effective tips to deal with negative and positive feedback.
How to handle feedback
Handling positive and negative feedback the right way is important. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Purvi Kalra Published: 28 May 2024, 14:10 pm IST
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Be it our exam results in school, the annual appraisals at work, or the response received from an audience after a dance or music performance – dealing, processing and absorbing feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, is an essential skill for an individual’s personal as well as professional growth. While receiving feedback is important, but how to handle feedback effectively is also a skill that must be learnt for growth in the right direction.

After all, no one ever wishes to be on the receiving end of criticism. It can stir feelings of anxiety, worry, overthinking, or hurt. Being humans, we are always vying for positive feedback. But even if it feels daunting, negative feedback can become an integral part of personal or professional growth, at times even more so than positive feedback. If handled the right way, negative feedback presents the areas we lack in and can become an opportunity to step up on the ladder of success. Both types of feedback are crucial. A pat on the back in the form of positive feedback motivates us to perform better, while negative criticism reflects the areas that require more work to hone our skill set.

How to deal with negative feedback?

how to respond to feedback
Follow these tips to take constructive criticism positively. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

According to clinical psychologist Roshni Sondhi Abbi, here are effective ways to handle negative feedback:

1. Listen actively

Instead of interrupting, questioning or refuting, make an effort to actively listen to the feedback, and be receptive to the same. Resist the urge to immediately dismiss or argue against the feedback, reckons the expert.

2. Reflect on the feedback

Take some time to reflect on the feedback, once the initial emotional reaction has passed. You may not always agree with the feedback provided, but it’s important to give it a fair consideration. Introspect about how the feedback aligns with your observations and experiences.

3. Be open-minded

Based on the feedback received, you could make an effort to push your limits to implement changes and devise a plan to accommodate the suggestions received. Even if you don’t agree with the feedback, you could always consider this to be a perception or opinion, which can be valid as well.

4. Consider feedback as a learning opportunity

Use negative feedback as an opportunity for learning and growth. Such feedback should be viewed as constructive criticism that can help you become a better version of yourself. Embrace the feedback as a valuable tool for both your personal and professional development.

How to respond to feedback
Learn the right way to respond to feedback in order to grow and become better.

How to respond to a positive feedback?

Positive feedback may sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed. We should not be swayed by those good feelings and lose sight of what’s next in store for us. The expert says, “Often, we pay more attention to being receptive towards criticism and negative feedback. However, there are times when we may undermine (to the point of being dismissive) the positive feedback given to us.”

Further, there are times when positive responses may be received with a sense of disbelief and even rejection! So, here are some points that may help you deal with positive feedback:

1. Acknowledge the feedback

When receiving positive feedback, it is important to embrace it with grace and express your genuine appreciation, even if you may not on the same page with it. Sometimes, people see the better in you than you can view yourself!

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2. Consider the feedback as a source of motivation

Such positive feedback can serve as a source of motivation to help you continue striving towards excellence. Even if the compliment comes as a surprise or is unexpected, the positive response can serve as a motivating factor to either improve our performance or work towards more successful goals for the future, tells the expert.

3. Celebrate the success

Don’t hesitate to celebrate your achievements and milestones. Use the positive feedback you receive as an opportunity to celebrate your progress and accomplishments as well.

4. Accept the feedback with gratitude

Even as you assimilate the positive feedback, don’t forget to be grateful. It is worth expressing gratitude for any positive feedback – however trivial it may be. It signals that your hard work and dedication is noticed and acknowledged. Allow yourself the space and time to internalise and acknowledge any compliment you receive!

The bottom line

By approaching feedback with an open mind, actively listening, and taking constructive action, you can turn even the most challenging feedback into an opportunity for growth and improvement. By effectively managing feedback, you can harness its power to boost your confidence, motivation, and overall satisfaction in life.

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About the Author

After testing her skill-set in the field of management and marketing, Purvi Kalra is exploring the world of turning thoughts to words. Her penchant for writing stems for being an avid reader all her life. Her work drives her to be better every day. ...Read More

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