How Are You at Accepting Negative Feedback?

Nancy Anderson
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Emotionally, many people are wired to resist any kind of feedback that's less than stellar and shy away from it when their managers or supervisors try to provide it. However, negative feedback has the potential to help you improve your job performance and excel in the workplace. Learn why being proactive and asking for this type of feedback not only makes a good impression with superiors but can also help advance your career.

Asking for Feedback Is Not a Sign of Weakness

Asking for feedback, whether it be positive or negative, lets your supervisor know you want to do the very best job you can. If you think you might need some guidance in certain aspects of your job, never hesitate to reach out to your manager. Explain that you don't mind knowing both the good and the bad, because you really want to improve at what you do and better align yourself with the company's mission.

Role-Model Positive Behaviors

Take that negative feedback and show you can handle criticism by following your supervisor's advice and making necessary adjustments. This begins by you role-modeling the type of positive behavior your supervisor wants to see from you. The negative feedback you receive gives you a blueprint for how to make changes and turn your work performance into a more positive experience for you and your team. Use it, especially if you asked for it.

Remember There's no "I" in Team

If you habitually resist negative feedback and refuse to make changes, chances are you aren't being a team player. Remember, your performance affects the performance of those around you and can have an adverse effect on the workplace dynamics as a whole. When you work on a team, getting honest and timely feedback on how you're performing is essential to moving the team forward and completing a project successfully. If you aren't receptive, that can negatively impact the work of the entire group.

Don't Be Afraid to Give Feedback, Too

If you're afraid to get negative feedback, you're probably not very keen on giving it, either. Just like the feedback you receive can help you improve your work performance, the input you provide can also help others if it's conveyed the right way. Be compassionate and constructive. Try to lead with something positive before providing the helpful negative feedback, so the person on the receiving end doesn't feel overwhelmed or discouraged.

If you have a supervisor who doesn't offer much feedback on a regular basis, it's hard to know how you can improve if you don't ask. Receiving negative feedback can actually help with self-confidence and improve your career if you welcome input from higher-ups and really act upon it. Take the initiative and gather the information you need to become the kind of employee companies want to advance.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jean E. thanks for your comment. Based upon your response, I would guess that there's something else going on there. As in, they have already identified a person for the position, but had to publish the job posting for a certain amount of time in order to "be fair." You just got caught up in that. Personally I wouldn't want to work for a company that flipflops like that. Take your skills and experience to a company who will appreciate all you have to offer. In the meantime, keep studying and updating your skills. All the best.

  • JEAN E.
    JEAN E.

    I have been told I'm overqualified, but have also been told that I don't have enough Excel (currently working with a career center to update my skills), account management, or customer service skills--I worked for 10.5 years at the same place as an administrative assistant before being laid off, so some to this feedback hurts.

  • janis j.
    janis j.

    The information is really helpful in my current job.

  • andrew b.
    andrew b.

    ^ I had the same problems, just sent a lengthy email to the company.


    I use is as a learning experience and motivation to improve.

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