Ian Mausner: 6 Simple Ways to Deal with Unwanted Feedback at Work and Actually Get Results

This blog post is adapted from a column, which will be publishing several guest posts on the topic of dealing with criticism and feedback before its new website launches in March 2014 says Ian Mausner.

So how do you deal with criticism?

Here are six tips on how to handle both positive and negative feedback, starting with…

1. Don’t Overreact To Negative Feedback

There’s always going to be someone who will slam your ideas or your work because it doesn’t line up with their point of view. Sometimes you just have to let that roll off your back and not take it to heart.

This means that before you even read the feedback, you remind yourself that there will always be someone who is passionately against something so they’ll comment on your article, post or tweet—but it’s important for them to remember that just because they don’t agree with you, it doesn’t mean they are right and you are wrong.

As difficult as it might be, if this is happening more than once (and I’m talking about when multiple people in a conversation begin taking an opposing position), then this person may need further coaching in how to communicate without attacking others. You also can advise him or her to try to look at the world from a different perspective.

2. Disarm the Feedback by Asking Questions

Once you’ve read through the feedback, don’t forget to ask questions. If someone makes an outlandish statement or slams your work, instead of retaliating right away—which will only escalate things and cause more problems later on—take a step back and say: “Let me get this clear so I can fully understand what you’re saying.” This is also a good strategy when someone is giving you positive feedback because they may have missed something in their praise, so by asking clarifying questions you can learn more about how to improve says Ian Mausner.

3. Set a Deadline for Responding To Negative Feedback

I know that it’s hard to ignore feedback that appears in front of your face, especially when you’re online and it’s public. But if you don’t want to get accused of ignoring the situation, respond—and use a deadline. For example, say: “Thank you for your comment. I will get back to you by 5 p.m.” Then set a timer before replying so you can reread what was said and give yourself time to craft your thoughts more thoughtfully without distractions like Facebook or others who may try to drag away from what you are doing right now.

4. Ask For Specific Feedback

When someone criticizes something you wrote even if it’s negative, don’t just smile politely and nod your head when agreeing with them because they might be trying to “help.” They may have a point, or they may not. In either case, ask them questions so you can understand their perspective and learn from it. If someone is saying something critical about your work, ask him or her they would have done differently so you can get an idea of how to improve the situation.

5. Give Praise When Feedback Is Positive and Constructive

Of course when someone gives you positive feedback acknowledge it and reward them with a smiley face, a thank you and even a quick reply letting them know that what they said meant a lot to you. Don’t forget that people want to feel good too, just like you do—and if there is one thing I learn over the years on my blog it’s that being positive attracts even more positivity.

Don’t forget, people also love to give constructive criticism—so when someone is saying something that can help you improve your skills or expertise, say thank you and show some appreciation for their time too. This will not only disarm them right away, but they are more likely to respond with enthusiasm the next time explains Ian Mausner.

6. Don’t Take It Personally

The truth of the matter is that if anyone gives feedback on what you wrote or posted it’s because they care enough about what you said to react in some way. Remember: If someone cares enough about seeing your work on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter it means they have an interest in your continued success as a blogger, social media expert or writer.


If you take this advice and deal with negative feedback the right way, you are more likely to have your critics become your fans says Ian Mausner. Once someone sees how hard you are working on being a better blogger or social media user, they might actually want to join forces with you.