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  • How To Handle Negative Feedback

    It can often be difficult to handle negative feedback without damaging your personal brand. Even if the comments are being offered as constructive criticism, it can be hard for us to see it that way.

    While criticism can be tough to deal with, it’s important to remind yourself how to handle it without losing your cool or feeling personally insulted. Negative feedback is a part of life, and can often be a reminder to more clearly focus on or improve different aspects of your work.

    4 ways to dealing with negative feedback

    Often, we may received negative comments on our blogs or Facebook posts, and it can be difficult to learn how to respond while keeping our positive personal brand intact. The issue isn’t about avoiding negative feedback, so much as knowing how to take it in and move forward with the knowledge.

    Below are four tips for how to best handle negative criticism and maintain your personal brand:

    1. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It can be instinctual to want to deny or tune out negative criticism. Often we get riled up and are unable to see the criticism from an unbiased perspective. Remember to take a step back, inhale deeply, and think through the comments with an open mind. Remain calm and composed, and don’t let your emotions trigger a quick, irrational, or rude response. It can often help to step away from the situation to gather your thoughts, whether that means logging out of Facebook or taking a minute to yourself in the office.

    2. Work to fully understand the issue. Take a step back and look objectively at the situation. Actively listen to the criticism and assess exactly what this person is concerned about and why. Imagine yourself in their shoes, and be empathetic to their concerns and willing to assess your mistakes.

    3. Reply appropriately. Once you’ve assessed whether or not the concerns are valid, reply kindly and with understanding. Even if you don’t completely agree, remember to work toward a mutually beneficial solution, or be willing to change your tactics to improve. Negative feedback isn’t often completely unwarranted, so remember to keep an open mind.

    4. Learn and move forward. Sometimes you learn the most from the times you’re receiving criticism. Strive to take the lessons with you and improve your performance in the future in whichever way is most comfortable for you.

    Remember: negative feedback isn’t always about defending yourself or becoming upset. Often, these are opportunities for us to improve upon our work and our personal brand.

    Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president ​of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. She is also the author of#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist forExaminer.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com.

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