Savoring Negative FeedbackPosted: August 24, 2013
Have you ever gotten that angry email from an employee criticizing yourself as a leader? How about the individual making sarcastic remarks that undercut your authority in the meeting?
These things happen all the time and can really get on your nerves. With so much else to worry about, the last thing we need is someone working to push us back down the hill. However, there’s always a silver lining. The people that speak up are at least willing to do so. It’s worth taking the time to listen, at least the first time a concern is brought up. Brazenly negative employees can be a pain to deal with and need to be managed out if they can’t change their attitude. But they are also your most likely source for the things others might be thinking, but not willing to say.
As leaders, we need to look past our defensiveness and try to glean what we can from the information. It might be incredibly frustrating to be told that you’re expecting too much from the team in a vitriolic email, but once you look past the rhetoric, it’s worth evaluating if the information is actually correct. All feedback can be viewed as an opportunity to learn. Maybe you can even surprise the employee by thanking them for their contribution and acting on their feedback.