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Facing backlash at work? Address the negativity, don't lash out

If you know your choice is going to stir people up, think twice about whether you should make that statement.

, ET Bureau|
Mar 15, 2018, 09.35 AM IST
The Duchess of Cambridge’s dress at a recently-held award function drew flak. No matter how hard you try, it’s difficult to get away from brickbats. Follow these tips.

You can’t please everyone all the time and there’s no better place to realise that than on the internet. You don’t have to be a celebrity to get backlash for something you’ve said, done, posted or even worn. People will have an opinion, and be especially vocal if it goes against their own.

And while this reaction can sometimes catch you by surprise, you can tackle it before it blows up or try to pre-empt the problem. So, whether it’s a political view or a fashion statement, here are some tips on how to handle the backlash you receive for your choices:

Think twice
If you know your choice or post is going to stir people up, think twice about whether you should make this kind of public statement. Take into consideration the backlash you may receive for straying away from the normal path and see whether it’s worth getting into it at all. Ask yourself what kind of outcome you want and whether your choice will help you achieve it.

Stick to it
If you’ve decided to go against the grain for a reason, make sure you stick to your decision. If there is anything worse than someone picking the socal led ‘wrong side’ it’s being wishy-washy and changing your tune at the first whiff of conf rontat ion. If you’re asked about your choice, be clear about your thinking process and why you feel that way. But you don’t owe anyone too long an explanation. Remember, you’re entitled to your opinion, even if it may ruffle a few feathers.

Facing backlash at work? Address the negativity, don't lash out
(Image: Thinkstock)

Address negativity
Don’t be like an ostrich and stick your head in the sand. While you are entitled to your opinion, keeping quiet and not sharing it can send the rumour mills into overdrive. Whether it’s at work or on social media, you should address the negativity you’re receiving as quickly as you can in a non-provocative manner.

To diffuse the feelings of animosity towards you, use phrases such as “I understand your frustration” or “I know it’s a challenging situation.” Don’t disregard their comments — everyone likes to be heard.

Control your emotions
If you’re facing backlash it’s easy to get your emotions into overdrive and lash out in defence. But, that’s not helping anyone — least of all you. In fact, it just adds fuel to the backlash fire. That said, you shouldn’t go unemotional when talking to people about your choice. Be frank with responses (even online) but make sure there is feeling to it; otherwise, you will come across as fake and formulaic.

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