One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is not to automatically accept everyone’s feedback. People will always have opinions and unsolicited feedback to share with you. Even with all the best intentions in the world, someone can lack the context or expertise to give you good advice. You would be surprised how many folks also lack self-awareness. It can be challenging to know who you should listen to, but here’s a good rule:
Don’t accept criticism from someone who you wouldn’t ask for advice.
The same rule applies to your boss. You should always listen to what your boss says, but sometimes he or she isn’t in the best position (EQ/personality, training, communication skills to give you the feedback you truly warrant.
Use the messaging below to push back tactfully and stand up for yourself. Note: If you don’t feel that your boss would be open to this feedback, it might be time to find a new position.
- I wanted to talk with you a little more about your recent feedback.
- I so value that we can be open with one another about what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling. Thank you for creating that environment for our team – it starts at the top, you know.
- And thank you for giving me a little time to come back and respond to you. For something like this, I wanted to make sure I gave it a good deal of thought.
- If you remember, your feedback was <try to repeat back word-for-word the main piece of feedback he/she gave you>.
- <Be sure to get agreement that this was indeed the feedback and that there were no misunderstandings.>
- Thank you for confirming/clarifying.
- I’m perplexed by this feedback because I don’t recognize myself in that description of me/my performance/that incident.
- Please understand that I’m not trying to be difficult or unaccepting of — or unappreciative — your feedback. <If possible, give them specific examples of when you took their feedback>
- I know that I’m not perfect.
- I value the feedback you give me, which is why I want to understand.
- I want to dig into this issue a bit more so that I can understand what behaviors specifically have given you that impression.
- That way, I can try to avoid them in the future.
- Thank you again for taking the time to walk through this with me and for all the ways you help me.