Feedback kinda sucks. Whether you’re getting a performance review from your manager, constructive criticism from a client or an uninspired public review, being told that you’re not doing it right rocks you right down to the core of your being.
I came across a forum post from someone blind-sided by a poor review, and my heart broke for her. She was beating herself up and not sure what to do next.
You’ve probably been in that situation before. I know I have. It’s pretty disheartening when you think you’re doing a great job then someone says no. I talked earlier about how to adjust your self-image and rebalance. Now, I want to share three pointers for bouncing back from negative feedback.
How to Handle Feedback
Be compassionate with yourself and grow through this experience, which really is the best way to handle it. If I’d said it before, I’ve said it a million times. Being an entrepreneur is a natural platform for personal growth. Every decision, mistake and success gives you a chance to reshape the best you. Lean into it.
Consider the Source Not every piece of feedback is well-reasoned or well-intentioned. Managers aren’t always the best reporters or observers and definitely don’t get adequate training in how to give actionable, productive feedback from my experience as an Ombudsman. They have their own emotions and motivations to manage along with your feedback. That’s doubly true for clients.
I mention this not to make you feel mad or betrayed, but rather to empower you. You are not the label people will put on you. Just because a customer or manager makes an assessment doesn’t automatically make it true or valuable information.
Consider the feedback like a visitor named Fred who has come to your home (your head & heart). You have choices. You can leave Fred outside and ignore him. Bring him in and have him wait, in the foyer or attic, until you have time for him. Or sit him down by the fire and get to know him a lot better to see if he’s in the right place.. (For some, Fred is that annoying in-law you resent but have to be nice to )
Remember the purpose. The purpose of the review is to help you do a bang up job. It’s easier to do that when you understand specifically what has to change and what will be consider a better result. Look or ask for measurable standards that aren’t subjective. And, if you need tools, training, a coach, don’t be afraid to ask for that.
The Best Clients give Great Feedback
One last tip, a client who will give you feedback is worth their weight in gold. Even the picky client who is driving you bananas with comments is giving you good data to assess things like: what attracted this type of client to you; what kind a system can you create to handle comments or disruptions? Clients vote with their feet so a dissatisfied client who stays and tells you is a good client indeed.
I recently had this experience with my ezine. It arrived in my inbox looking great, but subscribers got a weird reverse color version that was hell to read. Thank G-d for Mark Cornwell, a reader who gave me feedback in the most gracious way. Mark took the time to send me a screencast (!), told me he didn’t want me to see the dropping open rate and be discouraged, then explained his experience.
Our conversation segued into a discussion on profile pictures and how to get the best photographer. (Mark, who takes engaging, beautiful photographs, is from Hampshire., UK ( Here’s his Facebook page) I am incredibly grateful to have Mark in my tribe (My repaired ezine relaunches this weekend)
Cue the Kelly Clarkson song…’What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, stand a little taller…’
What works for you?