Handling tough feedback

The other day, I presented a 'Be Kind to Your Mind' session to a staff meeting, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. But there was one opinion that was less than glowing for a reason that was out of control. Guess which piece of feedback stuck in my mind for the rest of the day? Yup - the negative one!

As leaders, there's no way we can go for long without getting some criticism, whether founded or unfounded, it's part of the deal when it comes to being at the front of our field.

Neuroscience tells us clearly why this is the case, our brains are hardwired to look out for threats. While someone saying they don’t like some detail of the pitch you just gave or the strategic plan you are suggesting doesn’t seem like a threat to our livelihood or very existence, our brain and body can’t necessarily tell the difference.

In this ’>span class="">’ our pre-frontal cortex doesn’t work at its optimal level (I call this So-Bob, where Stressed out Brains are Offline Brains). Just when we need our fully functioning brain to help us problem-solve, it’s gone offline!

Being Kind to Our Minds when the pressure is on, is more than just a nice idea. It’s about understanding what is happening in our bodies and responding in a way that can set us up to get the results we truly want!

So how can we use this information in the heat of the moment to create positive momentum in our business and personal lives? I have 3 words I use to help process negative feedback in a way that allows for growth.


1. Marinate: Take some time! Don’t rush your response; your body will be on high alert, and that email reply you have written or response on the tip of your tongue might not be productive in the long run. Put your response ‘in the fridge’ until you have a chance to process it and your So-Bob brain has a chance to come back online.

2. Moderate: Put the feedback in context - who is it from, does their opinion actually matter? Is this someone who makes a habit of complaining about everything? Are there some other circumstances that are in play that have nothing to do with you?

3. Mitigate: None of us want to intentionally set ourselves up for criticism, so to mitigate that moving forward, what can you take on board from the feedback given? If it's warranted and constructive, use it to shape your next moves, if it’s frivolous, you may still be able to glean a growth edge out of it to improve your work going forward.

Leaders will always come up for criticism; learning to handle it well is a great way to Be Kind to Your Mind.

Julia Grace is Co.OfWomen member since 2020

Email: julia@juliagrace.co.nz

Mob: +64 (0)274 206 550

Website: https://www.juliagrace.co.nz/

Showreel: https://youtu.be/AV5DO71iEik