The benefits of negative feedback

Do you rub your hands with glee when someone criticises you? Not if you’re like most of us.

But according to research reported in the US business magazine Fast Company, people who seek and accept negative feedback are not only more successful at work, they also make better leaders.

So the next time someone gives you their ‘full and frank opinion’, think of it as useful information to help you lift your game and improve your performance. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone can stand to improve—apart from narcissists, of course. (Find out more about narcissists on pages 253 – 254.) Here’s how to make the most of feedback:

  • Don’t take it personally. Instead, think of it as information.
  • Analyse the feedback and filter out the junk: consider whether the feedback is factual, someone’s interpretation or reactions and the person’s motives for saying it.
  • Consider how best to use the information.
  • Be confident in your abilities to improve.
  • Put the feedback to good use; nothing changes if nothing changes.

Questions for discussion

When was the last time someone offered you negative feedback? How did you react? What could you do to seek more feedback and to make better use of it?