Overcome the Negative Feedback Stigma

Overcome the Negative Feedback Stigma

Overcome the Negative Feedback Stigma

Nobody likes to get negative feedback, and unless you are Simon Cowell (from American Idol) most people don’t like giving negative feedback either.  Unfortunately, this may be the kind of feedback that is most useful to you in a mastermind group.  The challenge is to give it in a way that is also useful to the receiver.

Negative feedback on an idea before you implement it can lead to success.  Negative feedback on an idea after you implement it can cause failure.

There are two points in the life-cycle of a mastermind group where it can be most difficult to give negative feedback.  The first is when you are just starting.  At that time you are all still trying to get to know each other, and people feel uncomfortable saying anything that may be taken as negative at this stage.  The other time that members hesitate in giving negative feedback is once the group members start to get to know each other well, or specifically the point when you start becoming friends with the members of the group.  Nobody wants to criticize their friends.

Luckily, there is an easy method that you can implement from the first meeting on to keep this from happening.   I call it the Negative Feedback Round.

The Negative Feedback Round

To get over the stigma of giving negative feedback you should make it part of the schedule of all the mastermind group meetings you have.   The premise of the Negative Feedback Round is pretty simply.  Let’s say that you are using the hot seat format for your mastermind group.  My advice is to require one Negative Feedback Round right after the person in the hot seat presents their problem.  Make it required.  Every member of the group has to give one bit of negative feedback to the person in the hot seat before moving on to the positive.  Since it is required, the person in the hot seat will not take it personally, and this will remove any stigma of giving “the person” who gives negative feedback.  Everybody has to do it.  An added bonus is that normally, this Negative Feedback Round tends to build a great base for discussions for the rest of mastermind meeting.

How To Give Negative Feedback

Now it’s important to remember that negative feedback needs to focus more on the feedback part, and less on the negative part. Here are five things to keep in mind when preparing your negative feedback.

  1. Focus on the problem, not the person
    This is very important to keep people from getting offended when receiving negative feedback.  When you are giving the feedback make sure you address the problem itself and not the person proposing it.
  2. Be specific
    Make sure that the negative feedback is very specific.  Don’t just say something general like “it’s a bad idea“, say something like “I don’t think that there is a market in your area for that service“.  This gives all the person you are addressing and the people in the mastermind group a specific point that they can work on.
  3. Keep it short
    Don’t beat a dead horse.  Try to be concise in your negative feedback.  No need to spend an hour repeating the same objection in different ways.  If you can express your negative feedback in 2-3 lines that is ideal.
  4. Provide solutions or alternatives
    Just because your feedback is negative does not mean it can’t be overcome.   If, based on your experience, you know of alternatives or solutions to the problem then make sure you share those when you give your negative feedback. Even if your alternative is not the one implemented, it can at least start the conversation.
  5. Engage Other Mastermind Group Members
    This is tied directly to point #4 above.  Engage the rest of the Mastermind Group in the conversation.  See what they see about the negative feedback you gave.  This not only brings the rest of the group into the conversation, it also keeps the discussion from falling into the me vs you dynamic with the person in the hot seat.

By implementing the Negative Feedback Round, and keeping to the 5 points of negative feedback you can make it an integral part of your meetings, and this will take your mastermind group to the next level.  One of the most important things to remember with all of this is that negative feedback may actually be the best kind of feedback anyone gets.  To quote Elon Musk:

“Actively seek out and listen carefully to negative feedback.”

Do you have any examples of negative feedback you received in your mastermind group that lead to your success?  If so, share it with us!  Use comment section below or use the contact us page to let us know!

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