Workplace Survival: 6 Tips on Dealing with Negative Feedback at Work

As you ascend to the top of the corporate ladder, don’t expect an easy, carefree climb. You will face some hurdles that you must jump over to succeed. One of those hurdles is criticism on work performance. In most companies, all employees will be subject to the dreaded performance review and with that, expect some critiques. However, what happens when that performance review takes a turn you did not see coming? Here are have six tips to help keep you in control when faced with negative or perceived negative feedback from your managers.

1. Remember everyone gets negative feedback. Regardless of your job or career field, we at some point will receive negative feedback. We can do everything right and to the best of our abilities, but from your employer’s perspective, things can always improve. So remember you are not the first or last person to receive a bad review.

2. Avoid defensiveness. When faced with any accusation about your character or your work ethic, avoid being too defensive. Granted it is hard to stay calm and keep a level head when someone is evaluating your work or attitude, but having a rebuttal while in an emotional state can create more issues and defeat your argument. Instead, ask your manager to provide detailed examples of why they feel the way they do about your work. Always ask for ideas of improvement so that these issues do not arise again.

3. Learn from your mistakes. Now you are probably saying,” I do not make mistakes, I do everything right.” No, you do not. We all have our flaws, and there is always an opportunity to improve. Therefore any when suggestions given, put them into practice. Remember, it is all about playing the game and adjusting to the environment. The goal is to minimize negative feedback and to show growth and change.

4. Take notes on everything. Document any meeting or conversation on performance. This is a crucial step which helps you keep a personal account going forward of what is needed to make improvements. Not only should you take notes concerning your performance, but you also should document any disrespectful or perceived bullying. Personal notes should include date, subject matter, and who was involved in the meetings. Keep your notes on your personal property. Never keep these notes on anything owned by your company. Protect and keep these records as they can keep you safe.

5. Keep it Professional. In the words of our esteemed First Lady, “When they go low, we go high.” Never get into a shouting match or hurl a flurry of insults even if provoked. No one should ever be the recipient of verbal abuse. In this worst case scenario, you should promptly de-escalate the situation and report it to your human resource personnel and share a detailed account to support your claims. Those notes we spoke about earlier, would be a crucial part of this. No matter what, you must keep in mind that in most situations, it is your word against your manager’s word. Whenever someone raises their voice or get into a verbal altercation, there will always be witnesses even when it appears no one is around.

6.  Know your rights as an employee. Pay attention to everything stated in the employee handbook, as it will arm you with the knowledge of all the expectations set in your workplace. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly due to discrimination, please contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for further guidance.

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