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July 7, 2014
by Christie Hunter

How to Navigate Negative Feedback from Your Boss

July 7, 2014 04:55 by Christie Hunter  [About the Author]

With the competition in the corporate world becoming stiffer than ever, the number of people suffering from workplace stress is also increasing. American Psychology Association conducted a survey in which more 1,700 people participated. According to the survey results, more than 41% of the participants reported that they suffer from some kind of depressive disease due to negative workplace stress.

A major percentage of participants told that apart from the workload, workplace bullying and negative comments from their boss are also two of the biggest factors responsible for a stressful workplace environment (Fuscaldo, 2012).1

There is no denying the fact that when, despite all the efforts and hard work, employees feel disheartened when they are not appreciated by their managers. It not only shakes their confidence but also impacts their productivity and overall performance. However, there are a number of ways through which a person can strategically manage negative stressors in the workplace.

This article will highlight various aspects of negative attitude of managers in the workplace, its impact on employee performance and mental stability and how this negative feedback can be handled.

Workplace Stress

While employees at every workplace have to manage their workload strategically in order to meet deadlines, overburdening them with work can stress them out, thus impacting their productivity. However, there are number of other factors, identified by many researchers, that make the working environment tense and negative leadership is one of them. A manager is not only responsible for planning and managing the workload, but productivity of employees also depends on the attitude of their manager.

If employees have a comfortable bond with their manger, they can discuss workplace issues with him/her. On the other hand, if the manager is not practical and does not interact with the workforce, then employees feel strained working with such a boss (Leviticus, 2014).2   

Psychological Impact of Negative Bosses

Constant criticism and negative feedback from managers not only discourages employees, but also impacts their mental health. There is no denying the fact that negative leadership can increase the turnover rate, but many authors have also highlighted the impact of negative managers on the psychological health of employees. According to Walton (2012), 3 “the psychological setup of a workplace” directly influences the working capacity and creativity of employees. The study highlighted that the organizations which keep employees happy and satisfied have less turnover rate than the organizations that offer handsome salary to employees but don’t provide a comfortable working environment.

Studies also highlight the fact that a major percentage of people suffering from depressive disorders reported that they have negative managers or frequently receive negative comments from their managers. The study of Walton declared destructive criticism of managers as a form of workplace bullying.

Tips for Coping with Negative Managers

Scivicque (2012), 4 conducted a detailed research on how negative managers impact mental stability of employees and how workers can cope with such bosses. Here are some of the easy and helpful tips, highlighted by the author that can help people overcome workplace stress:

1. Limit Interaction

One of the best ways to cope with unreasonable managers is to limit interaction with them. Although there is no way that employees can completely avoid their managers, it is wise not to consult them unless necessary.

2. Forget Perfection

This is another easy and useful tip that can help employees ignore the negative comments and feedback from their managers. Scivicque quoted that it is nearly impossible to satisfy some people. So workers should not stress themselves for pleasing their unreasonable managers. Instead, they should put in their best efforts to improve their performance. Working beyond capacity and constant stress not only impacts physical health but also has severe psychological consequences.

3. Take Breaks

This can help employees in diverting their attention from the workplace stress. Many authors recommend that the best way to ignore negative feedback from anyone is to divert your attention. Taking small breaks during working hours can help employees keep their mind fresh and provide them a way to vent out frustration.

Can Consulting Psychologists Help?

Many people don’t observe the importance of consulting psychologists and mental health experts for stress. This is the reason that a number of people working in stressful environments end up as depressive maniacs (the Associated Press, 2013).5 Psychologists not only guide people about the ways of managing stress strategically, but they also recommend therapies which can help people in the following ways:

·       Therapy helps in strengthening nerves so people can tolerate more pressure.

·       Counseling sessions provide people a way to discuss their issues.


1. Fuscaldo, D. (2012). How to Deal With Workplace Stress?

2. Leviticus, J. (2014). Negative Impacts of a Bad Manager.

3. Walton, AG. (2012). The Impact of Bad Bosses.

4. Scivicque, C. (2012). The Perfect Recipe for Handling Negative Feedback at Work. Accept and learn from professional criticism.

5. The Associated Press. (2013). So you’re not perfect, and you’ve been told so... Try to keep your emotions in check when getting negative feedback.

About the Author

Christie Hunter

Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at -

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