Getting Feedback at Work


In every job, you will be given feedback about your performance, both positive and negative. The reason for feedback at work is to help you learn what you are doing well at your job, as well as what areas you need to improve. It can be stressful to hear feedback about yourself, especially the negatives, but it is important in learning about yourself as a worker. This resource provides some tips to help you deal with negative feedback at work.

A man is looking nervous. There is a woman reading from a paper.

Don't get angry or defensive

While your first instinct may be to become angry, defensive, or upset, this is not the time to let out these emotions. Reacting negatively may make the situation worse or make your boss respond more negatively to you. Try to stay calm when you respond to the feedback.

Be respectful

When getting negative feedback, try to be respectful and polite. Listen to what you are being told, have good eye contact, and nod to show you are listening. You do not have to be happy about the feedback but it is important to be respectful in the moment.

Focus on the positives

If during the feedback, your boss remarks about the positives of your work, focus on that. Also, try to remember that everyone makes mistakes and has weaknesses at work. This is normal. No one is perfect, and you have the ability to get better.

Ask for suggestions

Ask your boss for suggestions about how to improve. This shows that you want to do better and care about the job. If you need further explanation about your weaknesses, now is the time to ask.

Practice relaxation

When getting feedback, you may experience stress or anxiety. This is normal! Take some slow deep breaths if you are feeling overwhelmed and try to relax your body. After the feedback, you may want to take a little break to relax before returning to work.

Vent about it later

It’s normal to want to discuss or vent about things that happen at work. When it comes to getting negative feedback, be careful about letting out your reaction at work. You should wait and discuss what happened with a trusted friend or family member outside work.

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.