How to handle negative feedback at work

Employee receiving negative feedback at workTaking feedback is an important ingredient for developing your career and improving your performance. An outside view, whether it is sought or offered, should always be welcomed. However, receiving negative feedback at work is inevitably uncomfortable.

Whether you are in a one-to-one with your line manager, are asking colleagues for their thoughts or you have applied for a new post and been turned down, here’s some tips for handling negative feedback at work:


While negative feedback is always difficult to hear, listen to the other person’s point of view. They may not deliver it in the most sensitive way and you could disagree with everything that is said. But listen for fact-based feedback and use these as learning points.

Take your time

It’s not essential to respond to negative feedback immediately. It might be to your advantage to take a step back before reacting to what you have been told. It’s possible to say something you regret in the heat of the moment. Reflecting on the discussion and writing your thoughts down is a good tactic for moving things forward positively.

Don’t take it personally

It’s human nature to take any kind of negative comment as a personal attack. Try to absorb the information you have been given in a non-emotional way. Feedback should be viewed as a catalyst for changes that will be good for your career and the business.

Ask questions

If you need more information to understand the feedback you have received, then ask for it. This could be at the time or later, once you have been able to reflect. It’s better to fully understand negative feedback in order to put in place your next steps.

Be grateful

Giving negative feedback can be just as uncomfortable as receiving it. In order to maintain a good working relationship with the person giving you feedback, thank them for sharing their thoughts. This will help to defuse any negativity around your discussion and enable you to both move forward.

At Ocean Edge our mission is to help people take the next exciting step in their career. This may involve working with them to act on feedback and identify opportunities that play to their strengths.

If you are looking for new opportunities in the affordable housing sector then speak to us about our services for candidates. Alternatively, you can talk to our teams in London and Southampton by calling 023 8000 1153 or emailing