Receiving negative feedback at work can be hard to deal with for many employees. This can directly affect the creative outcome of the officials. However, researches have found out that a person who is receptive towards negative criticisms are more creative at the workplace.
A research done by the University of Toronto, says that getting negative comments at work can both help and hurt employees. The study also says that when employers receive criticism from an employer or a peer, they become less creative in their work. However, the most exciting thing is when employees receive negative feedback from an employee of lower rank, they become more creative.
Yeun Joon Kim, the co-author of the study, says, “It makes sense that employees might feel threatened by criticism from their managers. Supervisors have a lot of influence in deciding promotions or pay raises. So negative feedback from a boss might trigger career anxieties.”
“I personally hate hearing negative feedback – as most people do – and I wondered if it really improved my performance, particularly when it came to completing creative tasks” he further added.
His own experiences inspired Kim at work. He, with his team, accomplished an experiment to observe how criticism at work can affect the performances of the employees.
Both of his experiments produced similar results: hearing criticism from an employer or manager often prompted employees to overthink about it and this prevent their creativity at work, whereas hearing criticism from people who held lower positions encouraged their creativity in future projects.
Kim explained that many employees feel that they compete with their peers. So getting criticism from them can be just as damaging as receiving it from a boss. In addition, the study also revealed that bosses are very open about accepting criticism from their co-workers. And doing so makes them more productive and creative in their works.
Kim appended that bosses are “in a natural power position and can cope with the discomfort of negative feedback better.”
Be observant while extending criticism
Furthermore, the researchers suggest that bosses or peers be observant when extending criticism. They should ensure that their comments are projected towards work-related outcomes and are not personal.
“If you’re a supervisor, just be aware that your negative feedback can hurt your followers’ creativity,” said Kim. “Followers tend to receive negative feedback personally. Therefore, keep your feedback specific to tasks. Explain how the point you’re discussing relates to only their task behaviour, not to aspects of the person.”
Employers contribute a good portion of their time at work, and it can often be nerve-racking. So, to cultivate a positive work environment, researchers found that expressing gratitude in the workplace can improve employees’ well-being.
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