Handling Feedback Like a #Careerlion Pro
Criticism has quite a negative touch to it, but what if we were able to handle it like a pro? Thinking of everything as useful feedback in my own opinion already sounds way better. I would say that I am always open for feedback, but of course there are times that I am less appreciative. Honestly, sometimes you just want to be left alone enjoying something, without being the target for a whole lot of negative feedback you by no means asked for. At other times feedback is all you can ever wish for, as this is the way to optimizing yourself. This article addresses tips and tricks to handle feedback like a #careerlion pro.
The main tips you will find on the internet are: listen carefully, don’t get defensive, and ask for time. Sounds simple, but all of them are easier said than done. Therefore, I sought to make these tips and tricks more tangible and easier to implement.
Don't confuse behavior with identity
When you receive feedback on your behavior this is one thing. Where you should definitely analyse it and try to grasp to elements you need to grow, you should by no means internalize this [https://hbr.org/2016/10/using-harsh-feedback-to-fuel-your-career]. You should not perceive it as an immediate attack on your identity. Nobody’s behavior is their identity right. Ever noticed how insecure people can come across arrogant? Well that proves my point anyway.
Don’t think in black and white
Honestly, I am probably the most black and white thinking person I have met. If not only for my wardrobe. Seriously, the number of grey items literally doesn’t compare to the black and white (preferably in star print, of course). Anyhow, going grey will allow you to become more productive in both receiving and giving feedback. That means that you are catching two flies in one go. The idea is that things aren’t perfect or a complete failure, they are generally something in between. Being more realistic about your perceptions will allow you to have a much better interpretation of the feedback you receive. The fact that there is room for improvement doesn’t make you a failure. It means that you can become even more awesome!
Overgeneralizing is a common mistake when receiving feedback that will make you feel like a complete and utter failure, without the grounds to do so. Sometimes there aren’t any patterns, but specific situations require a retrospective evaluation to improve yourself even further. Making one mistake, doesn’t make you a failure. Even making tons of mistakes doesn’t make you a failure. Unless of course you are doctor, things become more complicated when living creatures are involved. For those of you who actually are doctors, please disregard whatever I said just now.
Don’t make elephants out of mosquitos
A very nice Dutch expression (click here for some explanations by Dutch top model Doutzen), making elephants out of mosquitos. Surely the takeaway here is that you should not negatively exaggerate. Sometimes the feedback you receive concerns something small, that should remain small. To you it will most likely sound as if it were the biggest thing on earth. However, you will probably have been fired, dumped or whatever else is the worst-case scenario in your specific situations if it were really that bad!
Do ask for feedback
Do you want to be a pro at handling feedback? Then you will have to start asking for feedback to really obtain this skill. Considering of course those aspects that you want feedback on. Rather than asking a general question whether someone has feedback, the questions I found most effective are:
- What’s one thing I could improve?
- What’s one thing I could have done better in [a specific situation, i.e. a meeting]?
- How did that go from your perspective?
- What do you think I could have done differently?
This way, you ensure receiving feedback and keep improving yourself. Make sure to ask for examples when they answer, to really ensure that you will be able to translate the feedback into actions. Don’t limit yourself to your boss, but also ask colleagues, friends and family. Also, try to do so in real life and by phone if absolutely necessary.
Liona and I are constantly asking each other for feedback, trying to create the best content for you! No point in trying to sugarcoat things, we want to challenge each other as that is the only way we can improve as #careerlions. At work I also try to ask colleagues for feedback based on their perspective after important meetings, looking for ways to improve. Especially if there is a heated moment at work with someone, I try to analyse it and get some feedback from colleagues and superiors using these type of questions.
Will you consider some of these tips next time you are the target of getting “advice” you certainly did not ask for? Or will you continue to go on defense mode like many of us do automatically? I will definitely try to apply these tips and tricks. Ready to hit me with some feedback? What’s one thing I could improve? Please do so in the comment section below.