Navigating Negative Feedback

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Positive feedback is important in affirming and reinforcing when people are doing things well, but it doesn’t necessarily teach you about what you need to do to get better. That’s where negative, or constructive, feedback, comes in. Today we’re back with Part 3 on the topic of feedback and we’re taking a deeper look at the not-so-easy second dimension of feedback: negative feedback.

On your path to sheer clarity, I believe mastering negative feedback is essential – both how to give it and how to receive it. But while most people would agree constructive feedback is vital for growth, the reality is that in most corporate contexts, the higher up you go in the hierarchy, the more insulated you are from negative feedback. Unfortunately, if you aren’t sending the signal to people that you are open to negative feedback, you’re operating in a suboptimal way without important data.

In this episode, Mathew and I look at how to break through the barriers associated with negative feedback. We discuss how you can create an environment where people are comfortable giving you constructive feedback, the inner work you need to do to be able to benefit from constructive criticism, the elements that need to be in place for negative feedback to be well-received, how you can help your team members to recognize the benefits of constructive feedback, and much more!

Next week we’ll be covering issues clearing, where I’ll share my model for handling feedback conversations when they get really dicey. As always, we’d love to hear from you! What has been your most recent experience with negative feedback or constructive criticism? Did you get defensive? Did you already have a good foundation in place to receive or give the feedback? Send us your comments and experiences by email or through the form on our home page. 

Key Topics:

  • The two main problems leaders have with constructive feedback (1:35)
  • How constructive feedback fits into the sheer clarity model (2:18)
  • Why you should always seek out constructive criticism (3:58)
  • The benefits of negative feedback over positive feedback (4:29)
  • The question I want everyone listening to ask themselves (6:09)
  • Mathew shares his reaction to a recent experience with negative feedback (6:52)
  • The difficulties of getting negative feedback at the top of the organizational hierarchy (9:04)
  • How to manage the natural defensive reaction to negative feedback (10:15)
  • Why all your direct reports should be able to give you feedback (11:54)
  • The connection between emotional intelligence and a successful system of feedback (12:26)
  • The two kinds of negative feedback I’ve identified (14:06)
  • My latest encounter with negative feedback about my behavior (14:59)
  • Creating a strong foundation for giving constructive criticism (17:22)
  • A sample of workplace scenarios where people need feedback (17:47)
  • Expressing your concern by turning your criticism into an inquiry (19:52)
  • Framing your feedback to give a constructive opportunity (21:51)
  • And much more!

Mentioned in this Episode:

Click here for a PDF version of the transcript

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