5 ways to deal with negative internal feedback

Written by: Matthew Love

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to be part of a project or to develop and build on an idea from scratch, chances are you’ve received negative internal feedback along the way. In fact, if you haven’t received negative feedback—you’re doing something wrong. Why? Because despite what many people believe, it’s impossible to please everybody, all the time. And if you’re 100 percent behind your project or idea, it’s bound to divide opinions somewhere along the line.

Dividing opinions and receiving a few negative comments, reviews or remarks can be a good thing. What’s important though is the way in which you receive this feedback.  It could be interpreted as someone willing to offer you a perspective about your project or idea that you may not have thought of. It could be an opportunity to learn and grow and to adapt your idea or project into something better. It could also completely distract you from your goal and lead you astray—which is something we don’t want! To avoid this, we’ve put together 5 ways to deal with negative feedback:

Own it and hone it.

Take the negative feedback and make it your own. Write each comment or review out in one column of a page, and then alongside it write down an action plan to combat it. This proactive approach enables you to truly digest what’s been said and puts you immediately on the front foot.

It’s not all that bad.

Don’t always jump to the conclusion that the person giving you feedback is out to get you. This is seldom the case. As soon as you take negative feedback personally it becomes destructive. Remember that the feedback is about your project or idea, and that it’s only meant to give you a fresh perspective. If, on the odd occasion, the feedback is directed at you in a personal way instead of your project or idea—you know to ignore it and move on to more constructive feedback.

Clarify expectations and goals.

You can also use this negative feedback as a method or chance to clarify your own and other’s expectations and goals around the project. Maybe you’ve strayed a little far from the initial plan, or you’ve had to make some adaptions along the way? Either way, this is a great opportunity to realign these expectations and goals based on the new information and/ or context.

It’s a time to bond.

Negative feedback can also present you with an opportunity to bond with your manager, colleagues or even customers. And we don’t mean buttering them up in the hope that they give you better feedback the next time around, but rather bonding with them by understanding their comments and where they’re coming from. This will also help build a better relationship that’s founded on honesty—which are worth their weight in gold!

Build a supportive network.

Leading on from the previous point, this is also a great time to build a supportive network of honest feedbackers for future projects or ideas. If you’re able to develop a good relationship with the people who gave you constructive criticism, you know that they’ll always have your back when you need their input going forward. They’ll probably even become your biggest supporters—in an honest, real way.

Negative internal feedback doesn’t have to be the end of the road for your project or idea. It could even help forge the beginning of a new journey—one that you just couldn’t see from your perspective. It all depends on how you take, consume and action the feedback, and with these 5 tips from BigTeam, you’ll be well on your way to owning it!

If you’re ready to move on to level two, learn how to incorporate agile feedback into your projects so you can also have the good, with the bad.


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BigTeam enables users with seamless access to feedback and expertise from your network and organization.