Nobody likes to get ‘negative‘ feedback. You come into work with the goal to do one thing: your job. To have your supervisor, manager, or boss tell you that you are doing a less than superior job can be devastating. However, with the right mentality and the appropriate perspective, this feedback can be handled with grace and tact.
What Is The Purpose?
First, we need to understand the purpose of the constructive feedback. Acknowledging what it is, is the first part. Your feelings might be hurt, you may even feel devalued, especially when you consider how much effort and time you put into your role, project, or whatever the feedback is pertaining to. However, the feedback is meant to help you to become better. Regardless of who is giving the feedback, the goal is for you to take what is being said and refine yourself so that a better outcome can be reached moving forward. Once you understand that, the rest will fall into place.
There are three things that you must do when receiving constructive feedback: listen, reflect, and respond. It has to be done in this order. You do yourself a disservice professionally and personally by not taking the feedback as it is meant to be received. Nobody is perfect and understanding this is so pivotal to our own personal growth and success. Now, not all feedback is good feedback, but something can always be learned. What you do with the feedback is how you will often be defined.
It is important to listen to the entirety of the feedback. You may feel the urge to interrupt and defend yourself, “I only did that because so-and-so did …”. Doesn’t matter. You are in control of one thing…your actions. Your manager knows that there are outlying factors that contributed to the end result; he/she is speaking to you because there is an area for improvement. Deflecting and trying to defend actions will only lessen the value of the feedback and will make you appear defiant. Regardless of whether or not your intentions come from a good place, this is the absolute worst thing you can do. Listen without speaking and then take the time to reflect on the feedback that is being given to you.
Time To Reflect
Reflect. Take a few moments and understand where the feedback is coming from and what frame of reference is being used. Perspective is everything and understand that the person often times giving you the feedback is not directly involved and is probably only getting one side of the story. In reality it does not matter how much of the story the person has. What does matter is what you take from the feedback. Understanding that there is always a better way will help you get into the appropriate frame of mind. It is important to take this time to reflect so you do not become your own worst enemy. Keep a positive attitude and take from this interaction what you can. Focus on the positives and what you can do in the next situation that will help yield better results. Focusing on keeping the feedback as feedback and not a personal attack or something to feel shame about is an important part of this process.
Respond From Here
The response can often times be seen as the most important process. What you say next and how you behave can have major implications in your professional or personal life. Commit yourself to a path of resolution so that your improvement and the improvement of others is at the focus and you won’t go wrong. However, be mindful of how much you are indulging in the response. Maintaining perspective will help you keep your integrity and help the weight of your words be felt.
This is my three step guide on how to accept constructive feedback. Tell me in the comments below what your thoughts are and what you have seen to be successful while receiving feedback that is less than desirable.
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