Many of us get defensive in response to negative feedback. We play the victim, sink into denial, or blame our circumstances — but these behaviors let our egos get in the way of important learning. Here’s a better way to respond, no matter what the feedback is or who’s giving it: “I really appreciate you taking the time and the effort to tell me. Thank you.” This response may seem simple (and it is), but it shows people you’re open to hearing what they have to say. As a result, they will be far more likely to speak directly to you when they have an issue, as opposed to going to your boss behind your back. That means you’ll have the chance to respond and improve the situation before it gets any worse. The added benefit? This response dramatically increases your ability to listen. When you stop defending against feedback externally, you stop defending against it internally, too.
Adapted from “13 Ways We Justify, Rationalize, or Ignore Negative Feedback,” by Peter Bregman.