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4 Ways to Bounce Back After Negative Feedback

July 5, 2022

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Look, nobody’s perfect. Even when you feel super passionate about the work you’re doing at your job, or you were sure that you nailed an assignment, there are going to be times when you receive some less-than-stellar feedback.

Hopefully, you received this calm, considerate feedback from someone you genuinely feel wants to see you improve. However, that doesn’t mean the input doesn't still sting.

Sometimes, however, you might find yourself walking out of your boss’s office with your face red, ears ringing, and everyone else with their heads down, trying to pretend that they didn’t just hear how your boss chewed you out. 
However it was delivered to you, it can be tough to return to your desk and continue working as if nothing ever happened. Sometimes, the effects of criticism on your work can stick with you for days or even weeks. 

Here are some helpful tips for taking those notes in stride, implementing them, and getting back to work with your head held high.

Be Prepared Before You Get Negative Feedback 

A great way to avoid the shock of a bad work review is by asking for frequent feedback from coworkers and leadership alike. It may feel like you’re needling at them for praise, but remind yourself you’re trying to be the best “you” you can be at your job. 

Every so often, ask your manager, project leader, or employer if there’s anything you could be doing differently or more efficiently. 

Ask questions before taking on significant assignments or projects, too! Leadership always wants to hear that you gathered information and expertise before starting on something, even if the result isn’t what they wanted. 

Read ASAP's Tips for Executive Assistants to Thrive in Performance Evaluations to get more information on how to nail your workplace evaluations!

Ask Questions and Get Negative Feedback Examples

Whether in the performance meeting itself or you’re circling back afterward, ask your reviewer or even other coworkers about the feedback you received. 
Remember, don’t allow yourself to get defensive, but be honest about what things you didn’t understand, either about the assignment, the feedback, or your plan of action for the future. 

Don’t be afraid to ask about specific instances where someone noticed the behaviors you were critiqued about. But, again, be sure not to come off as combative or defensive. It should feel less like “Tell me ONE TIME where I did that!” and more like “Okay, can you give me an example?”

Positive vs. Negative Feedback: Don’t Be Afraid to Confront the Negative!

Even if you’re receiving nothing but flowers in your performance review, employers will be impressed when you ask them to give you something to improve on. In addition, they will remember that you are passionate enough about your job to be good at it and look for ways to be even better.

It might be hard to bring yourself to ask for critiques when you’re riding so high on success, but it’s worth it. 

Consider seeking out some coworkers who you know will be candid with you, too. Then, if you want to improve, they will feel that and be honest about your performance.

Reflect, Don’t React

When you’re feeling vulnerable and receiving harsh reviews on something you thought you worked hard on, it can be tough to sit there and take it. 


You might feel like the feedback is unfair or hear yourself getting blamed for something a coworker did. You might even feel the urge to start apologizing over and over. 


While apologizing for an honest mistake is never wrong, over-apologizing might sound like you’re just trying to get something over with or don’t want them to be mad at you

More likely than not, your boss isn’t looking for an apology but a change in your work performance. So consider seeking a certification or training program in the areas you’re struggling in! Not only will you learn from your mistakes, but you’ll also be developing new skills at the same time. 
Don’t get angry, don’t snap back, and most importantly, express to them how you plan to improve in the future. 


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