How to receive negative feedback

University of Leeds
2 min readFeb 17, 2023

So, you got some negative feedback on your assignment? It never feels good to be criticised. Sometimes the more spot on the negative feedback is, the more it hurts. We often want to play defence and come up with all the reasons to why the criticism isn’t truthful and why it’s unfair. But none of us is perfect and we are all criticised through our lives — from school and work to personal life. It is a reminder that there is always something new to learn.

It is worth remembering, that getting a bad grade or bad feedback on your essays etc. is a good way to learn to accept and learn from constructive feedback in a safe environment.

In this blog we will introduce you to three steps that will help you to receive negative feedback in a way that is beneficial for your growth.

1. Listen

Even though it’s hard in the moment to hear you didn’t do well, the words are intended for you to grow and improve. Make space for accepting that you’re not perfect and you can struggle sometimes — it will likely allow you to be less defensive towards the criticism and set you up for an opportunity to improve. It’s ok to feel initial hurt, but it’s what you do with it that matters the most.

2. Allow for feeling hurt

Building up on the previous point — it’s ok, even recommended, to take some time to sit with your unpleasant emotions. Give yourself a set amount of time to feel the pain and then move forward. It is important for our overall wellbeing to learn how to process negative emotions. To learn more about it, watch this short video from the School of Life.

Remember to not entangle the critical message with the messenger. Constructive criticism most often comes from a place of concern.

3. Use the criticism to learn and grow

The best thing we can do with negative feedback is to use it as an information that help us improve. This can look differently depending on a situation, but in the context of academic skills you might want to put aside some time to identify the areas which you want to work on and maybe take a look at workshops from the Skills@Library or book and appointment with your personal tutor to help you do it and move forward.

Have you embraced constructive criticism? Share your experience and tips below, we’d love to hear from you!

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