Deal With Negative Feedback By Asking Solution-Focused Questions

Whether it’s a poorly received creative project or a crushing performance review, it’s easy to get defensive when you get negative feedback. Creativity site 99U suggests one way to better handle negative feedback is to start asking questions that will lead to a real solution.

Picture: Juhan Sonin/Flickr

Getting feedback is tough, and it’s incredibly easy to fall into a defensive or aggressive trap when someone doesn’t like what you’re doing. If you really want to make the most out of the experience, you need to find a solution to make it better. One way of doing that is to ask the right questions:

To ask a solution-focused question, describe a potential solution and ask whether it would be acceptable to the other person. For example, to get a piece of work accepted in its current form, you might ask:

“I know you don’t like the look of it, but if I can show you evidence that your customers prefer it this way, will you sign it off?”

Your goal is to leave the room with a clearly-agreed next step towards a solution. They may still be sceptical or unsure, but at least you know what you need to do to get the work accepted.

99U’s suggestion is based on creative work, but it’s good to keep in mind during a negative performance review as well. The goal is get everyone on the same page and to help you be proactive in reaching a happy resolution, not dealing with the problems of the past. If you need a little help giving that negative feedback, we’ve got you covered there as well.

How to Deal with Crushing Feedback on Your Creative Work [99U]

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