Lifestyle Comments

The Right Way to Handle Harsh Feedback

Written by: Zanita Studio


At some point in your life, someone’s going to lay it down for you.

It seems that we’ve grown accustomed to refraining from hurting people’s feelings, hence the rise of team brainstorming and collaboration sans conflict. We emphasize a non-compete mindset and everyone wins mentality. But how do you expect maximum growth and potential out of that that? You can’t.

We’re not looking for individuals to sugar coat the reality… We’re looking for old fashion harsh criticism that gives us room to change and the possibility refine our abilities. You probably need the same kind of critique, but haven’t opened up to it. It sucks to hear, but drop those defensive walls and listen up! Here’s how you can handle harsh feedback even when you’re not ready for it.

handle negative feedback– Listen honestly.

Don’t make any assumptions and drown out the self-righteousness. Accept that you’re not always right and keep those ears perked. You won’t get this attitude right the first time, but after a few tablespoons of demureness, you’ll train yourself to keep the heat down. Listen thoroughly to the person critiquing you and make sure you’re receiving specific examples. If the information isn’t being transmitted the way you want it to, ask questions, but beware of your tone. If you come off irate, the other person will probably shut down too.

– Be open to validity.

Stop thinking within your box. Everyone’s opinion has some validity to it. And though your goal isn’t to make EVERYONE happy, look out for substance your critic brings to the table. One of Zanita’s roles as Creative Director is to move the team in the right direction when one of us starts to stray… She always comes forth with hard examples and then apologizes if it came off  bi****. That’s exactly what’s needed to clean shit up and move on.

– Strive for improvement.

Once you realize there is some legality to what someone is telling you, think about how you can improve yourself and fix it. You can’t change if you’re not willing to accept it. You might not make overnight strides, but some improvement is better than none.

– Reflect.

Take a hard look at the processes you’re used to following and your methodology for approaching everything, and then make small adjustments based on the suggestion(s) offered to you (if any). As you move along, follow up with your critic for feedback or simply make an honest assessment yourself.


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