How To Handle Negative Feedback As A Business Owner
- As a business owner, you must be prepared to deal with negative comments from clients as well as colleagues.
- When vocal disapproval is directed at you, use emotional and professional intelligence in your response.
- Pay attention to how other leaders deal with negativity, learn from their mistakes, and have a plan.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
Negative perceptions occur, inside and outside a business, and when they are strong enough, they can take the form of a wave of anger, resentment and backlash for a company, an executive or both. Painful Perception-the related consequences are always a risk, so what can you do to prevent them, and what can be learned if they do occur?
Business is not just about products, services, value, income and profit.
People are involved, who often watch closely and judge decisions and behaviors as acceptable or egregious. So it’s important to accept that vocal disapproval may be directed at you. If you do not demonstrate emotional and professional intelligence in responding to them, and quickly, you may be exposed to additional exposure, especially on a regular basis and social media. This type of state of mind – whether characterized by indifference, insensitivity, or aggression – essentially plays quickly and freely with risk management, reputation and financial stability.
Much better in every professional measure is to carefully assess the societal landscape and put in place safeguards that ensure respect and care for your stakeholders, while representing you well to the public. Essentially, the goal is to think compassionately (and therefore ethically) to foster the most productive analysis in decision making.
Learn how to do this skillfully and consistently, then make it a non-negotiable standard for all staff, and an organization will geometrically find it easier to self-correct. A system so designed will be structurally devoted to error prevention – effectively creating insurance against errors of commission or omission.
Read more: How 4 West Coast Chefs and Bakers Used Instagram to Start Their Own Business
First of all, familiarize yourself with the news.
See incidents where other people and businesses fall short of expectations – the result is often self-inflicted damage to reputation and bottom line. Learn from these mistakes and analyze the pain that resulted. These are invaluable lessons. Also, know that it is not impossible that you will be the next target of resentment inside or outside your company – the possible consequence of intense media scrutiny, with all its unsettling energy.
Ask yourself what governance and compliance safeguards you have in place, personally and organizationally, against possible attacks.
Have you done a stress test, for example, to see if they’re tough enough and reliable? What structure is in place to spot issues as they start to develop and make sure you see or hear about them quickly? How will you be specifically informed? From whom? Are you going to catch it all, and if not, why not? Where are the gaps in your structure and protection?
A key part of perception assurance is to hold trusted people close to you accountable and to encourage strong and unhappy feedback – whistleblowing (with verbal and written assurance of staff protection) – about you – even and the company so that a person outside your entourage cannot pick up a conflict. Both can be the difference between learning about a potential crisis in time to review and respond to it, or being publicly labeled as incompetent, or worse.
It’s a tricky proposition for executives – essentially making them vulnerable to their employees, but it can do wonders for institutional well-being. Inviting comments on embarrassing, upsetting, and dangerous truths can be one of the best things you can do for your name, mission, career, health, and business growth.
The vision and commitment to engage in this type of thinking will prove invaluable and help keep your name and that of your business out of the hustle and bustle of the virtual judge and jury and the resulting negative public opinion.