Ask for More: How to Receive Negative Feedback Without Getting Defensive
We spend a lot of time and energy figuring out how to constructively GIVE negative feedback.
How do we respond when we RECEIVE it? Do we respond gracefully or do we get defensive?
One of my first mentors suggested that we ASK FOR MORE!
I often share the example of how that advice came in handy when I was a supervisor in a large university. I asked one of my employees:
“How do you think we can improve the department?”
His reply: “You can be a better supervisor!”
Resisting the urge to get defensive or “write him up,” I ASKED FOR MORE:
“How do you mean?” I asked.
As a result, I received valuable feedback that I would have otherwise missed!
Below are a variety of possible phrases for “asking for more” when you receive negative feedback. Use the ones that work for you.
“How do you mean?”
“Can you give me an example?”
“Can you be more specific?”
“Can you elaborate please?”
“Tell me more.”
After the other person clarifies his or her criticism, use the following phrases to find out what the preferred behavior is:
“What do you suggest?
“What would you like to see happen?”
“What do you think we should do?”
“How should we resolve it?”
“In your opinion, what should be done?”
So, next time you receive negative feedback, use these phrases to ASK FOR MORE!