What should you do when you disagree with feedback?

The question is how you as an employee should take the feedback. We will discuss what steps you should take before you make an action plan.

What should you do when you disagree with feedback?

Not very long ago, we discussed how important is feedback for growth and how a team leader or a manager should provide feedback regardless of it being positive or negative.

Delivering feedback is important because -

  • It motivates the team members to do better, to be included in the work, and to be active as team players.
  • It is essential for the employee's personal development. Taking constructive criticism for an individual holds an important role to be a better communicator.
  • It gives clarity. Employees need clarity to work more efficiently, make required changes, adopt new strategies, and perform overall well.
  • It keeps employees and you (the manager) on the same page. It allows the employer/manager (you) to open a dialogue. It will help you to understand what you can do to help them work efficiently.

Now, your team leader has given the feedback, but you as an employee don’t agree with the feedback. Yes, not all feedback is valid or applicable.

The question is how you as an employee should take it. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind while having the conversation. We will discuss what steps you should take before you make an action plan.

That being said, remember that receiving feedback is an important aspect of personal and professional growth.

Whether the feedback is positive or negative, there are steps you can take to handle the situation effectively.

What should you do?

Before we discuss what you can do, recognize that the feedback has been given and that the person providing it has a different perspective and is investing time and energy for you.

Take time to reflect

Humans tend to react when they feel that they are getting attacked. If the feedback is negative, then chances are that your first reaction will be to defend yourself. Instead, take time and space to understand the perspective and consider whether there might be some truth to it.

Listen to the feedback clearly and be in listener mode until the person is done. Make sure to be a good listener - listening is different than hearing. Listen.

Seek Clarity

Let’s say you don’t understand a few pointers, then don’t assume what the other person meant. Rather, ask them to clarify their pointers with examples or valid points.

This will do two things - First, you will understand the feedback more clearly. Second, the person providing feedback would acknowledge your gesture.

It’s about showing that you are grateful to your manager or team leader for being willing to criticize you.

Taking feedback and working on it is an individual choice but maintaining respect is non-negotiable.

Keep an open mind

Dismissing feedback is a natural reaction when it’s negative. However, for your growth, remember that there can be insights that you can learn from it. Take feedback objectively and keep an open mind to listen to different perspectives.

You might not understand the “why and how” of the feedback but understanding “what” is the first step that you can take.

Seek out other perspectives

Talk to the people from your team or your other mentor. Talk to people who can provide additional insights and can provide a different perspective. A person out of the conversation might be able to tell you if you are listening or hearing to reply back.

Once you know all the ins and outs of the feedback, have a conversation with the manager or team leader whoever provided the feedback.

Communicate your perspective

Yes, you are allowed to disagree. Put forward your point of view and support it with some examples. Make sure to be respectful but assertive. Express your thoughts and make sure to give them space and time to understand where you are coming from.

Have an action plan for the parts of the constructive feedback that was rightly given and need some kind of assistance from your side.

Once the conversation is done, make sure to work on that action plan. Fix a time and go back with a follow-up. It makes it effective feedback.

In a longer period, this is good self-practice. You become accountable for yourself and if there is any kind of micromanagement, it stops. It provides various benefits.

In the end, handling constructive criticism is an important part of becoming a successful professional.