How to Repair a Negative Perception of Your Work…

Learning that others’ perceptions of you or your work don’t align with your own can feel destabilizing. But as difficult as it is to hear, learning how others view you can provide an opportunity for self-improvement and professional growth. Here are steps you can take to repair a negative perception of your work.

Reflect on the feedback. First, acknowledge your immediate emotional reaction. Then try to distance yourself and objectively assess the feedback as if it were about someone else. Then ask yourself: If 2% of the feedback were true, what actions would I take to change the perception? And how much effort am I willing to put in to do it?

Actively listen. Reach out to various colleagues you trust. Express your desire to continually improve, and ask for additional honest feedback. Keep it simple with these four questions: What do I do really well? What should I continue doing? Where can I improve? What should I stop doing? The goal is to listen actively and write down what’s said—without commenting or getting defensive.

Acknowledge misunderstandings or misbehavior. Apologizing for your part in any misunderstandings or shortcomings can go a long way in changing others’ perception of you—as long as you also ensure that you don’t repeat the behavior in the future.

Seek support and use talent development tools. Look to your manager or HR for resources to support growth in the competencies you’re trying to improve, and keep track of your progress with your manager over time.

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