9 Ways to Handle Negative Feedback Without Getting Defensive

6. Don’t confuse your effort with your results

This is a note to self.

Just because you poured 40 hours into something doesn’t mean it helped advance the mission.

I had to get past the idea that trying = well done. A+ for effort but C- for results means there’s growth opportunity. Lots.

You’ll always want to reward yourself for your effort. Ultimately, though, you need to own your results.

Effective leaders never confuse their efforts with their results.

7. Show people how they helped you

Once you’ve processed the feedback, go back to the people who offered it and tell them how it helped you and what you’re doing about it.

It’s a signal to them that their time was an investment and not a waste, and that you value personal growth.

8. Evaluate using objective tools

Conversations are one thing, but objective tools can take things to a whole new level.

We evaluate weekend services every Tuesday with a set of questions.

I also regularly use Survey Monkey to get feedback on everything from sermon series ideas to blog readers to new book ideas.

I also love Strengths FindersRight Path and other tools that help me gain insights into personal strengths, weaknesses and team dynamics.

9. Solicit feedback regularly enough to make it part of your culture

If you practice the eight approaches outlined above regularly enough, it will become part of your culture.

Solicit feedback at every turn.

Ask questions.

Eventually people will realize this is not only a safe place to give feedback, it’s desirable and needed to advance the mission.

When leaders listen, everyone grows.

What Do You Think? 

If you want more, I wrote more about healthy leadership is my latest book, Lasting Impact, 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.

What have you used to help you get regular feedback?

What are your best practices? What are your stumbling blocks?  

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Carey Nieuwhof
Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.