Receiving criticism about your work is always a daunting prospect. However, when it’s delivered constructively, it can positively impact how you perform your daily tasks. Unfortunately, many people adopt the wrong mindset when faced with constructive feedback.
Rather than letting your emotions get the better, know that constructive criticism is designed to generate favourable outcomes for both the business and your career. With the right mentality, you can take this feedback on board and show that you’re willing to apply actionable advice.
While everyday criticism might cause someone to lose motivation or feel anxious about their position at the workplace, constructive feedback builds trust between employees and leads to professional development. Here, we explore how to take on constructive feedback productively.
1. Know it’s not personal
Even if feedback is delivered constructively, it’s hard to overcome the instinctive reaction that comes with criticism. However, remember that the person giving your feedback about your work isn’t trying to cause you harm. Instead, they are trying to improve your skills to benefit you and the entire operation.
Helping you understand how a specific task can be done better can inspire you to focus closer on your job. Meanwhile, if you experience tangible benefits from their suggested approach, it’s bound to help you feel extra motivated to find other ways to improve.
2. Recognise the importance of good feedback
Everyone is bound to make mistakes in their job. If you want to become a highly respected employee who inspires others, receiving constructive feedback about your work can help you understand where you can improve. This is where the real benefit of high-quality feedback comes in.
Most times, you probably don’t even realise that you aren’t completing a specific task with the best approach. By having someone else highlight where you can enhance your performance, you have the power to refine your workflow and deliver the best outcomes for the business and your career.
3. Practice active listening
If someone has taken the time to deliver constructive criticism, it pays to treat this feedback with respect. That means practising active listening – a communication skill where you thoughtfully listen to and digest the message being presented.
As you put conscious effort into engaging with the feedback, you have a better chance of implementing their suggestions. It also shows your manager or colleague that you’re taking their advice seriously, which helps foster communication and teamwork.
4. Fight your first reaction
Many people have a snap reaction to constructive feedback – even when they know it’s well-meaning – because it can feel like your professionalism and skills are being attacked. However, stop yourself from reacting to these on-the-spot emotions.
For example, you might want to interrupt during the middle of their feedback to challenge their perspective. You might even convey your annoyance through facial expressions and body language. However, fight this urge by recognising that constructive feedback is highly beneficial.
5. Ask questions
Once the person has finished delivering their constructive criticism, ask questions that help you fully understand the issue. This is always a good idea, as it shows you’re invested in achieving the best outcomes for the business.
Asking questions also ensures that everyone is on the same page. This process should help you see a clear picture of the problem and help you develop a productive solution that benefits everyone involved.
6. Say thank you
Although you don’t have to agree with every bit of feedback provided, you must understand that this process is simply part of working in a highly functional business. To show that you appreciate the need for constructive criticism, thank the person for taking the time to offer their perspective.
After that, it’s time to act on the feedback received: get additional points of view and implement the suggestions to ensure you’re helping yourself, your colleagues, and the business succeed. Consider setting up a time in the near future to discuss your progress and how further improvements can be made.
You can even take the first step to ask for feedback from your manager. This shows initiative and a willingness to improve and grow.