If there is one thing I have learnt during my professional life of over two decades, it is that feedback is an extremely powerful tool. While a positive feedback has the power to change people’s lives for the better, I have also seen negative feedback destroying people. As a leader, you would have to deal with two kinds of feedback, viz. feedback that you need to give to your subordinates and the feedback that you receive from your seniors. For today, let’s discuss the latter one.

Meet negative feedback with positivity

The hardest and yet the most important thing to do in the face of a negative feedback is to stay positive. The longer you take to respond to a negative feedback, the worse it becomes for you. You must keep your response simple, positive, focussed and fast.

However difficult it may seem at that time, you must begin by thanking the person for observing you and sharing his or her feedback. Your words and body language must exhibit how grateful you are to receive this feedback, irrespective of its critical nature. The next (very important) step is to mention that you see a number of positives in that feedback and you feel hopeful about it. Follow it up by saying that you would work diligently work on the shortcomings pointed out to you. You may not really agree with the feedback but arguing against it would only make things worse and you would be termed as stubborn. On the other hand, accepting it graciously shows your humility. Also important is to ask them for ideas to improve upon your weakness. And once they are finished, conclude it with a warm thank you.

A genuine apology has a powerful impact and can set things straight even between the staunchest of opponents. If you miss out on apology, it is assumed that you don’t acknowledge the feedback and have no intentions of bringing in any change. One of my favourite quotes which sit really well here is, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse”.

Here’s one last piece of advice about apology – the earlier you get done with it, the better it looks. You linger it too much and you are termed as stubborn yet again!