Putting yourself out, there can be intimidating. After all, what will people say? Many people get defensive or sad when they’re criticized at work. In many cases, the workplace has no feedback culture in place. Often peoples worried that they aren’t good enough and that they will be perceived in a negative light.
No one likes to be told they’ve done something wrong, but in order to grow and improve employee performance, it’s essential to push past the fear of negative feedback and take action anyway. Criticism is something that comes along with the job … and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
1. Listen and keep an open mind.
Actively listen to the feedback and check your ego at the door. Assume the intentions of the other person are good and hear them out. Take a deep breath if you need to; it’ll calm you down. Usually, someone will come to you to help you learn something new or improving employee performance. If you’re unclear on the feedback, be sure to ask questions or reframe it back to them. This is not a time for miscommunication. You must understand it completely and receive the feedback well. Hear what’s being said. If necessary, ask questions to make sure you know the criticism fully.
2. Do not get defensive and start making excuses.
The only problem? Getting defensive with friends, your boss, your partner, and yourself often backfires. It pushes people away, makes us look immature, and sends a message that we’re unable to regulate our emotions. At the moment, getting defensive can feel like the only way to cope with the threat. But in the long term, it undermines us and our relationships. When we lash out, we dig ourselves deeper.
Yep, excuses are great. After all, they make us feel much better about ourselves. Making excuses means that it’s easier to live with our failed expectations. As a bonus, we win the sympathy of others, which in turn helps us to create deeper bonds with those around us. We’re not perfect after all; in fact, we are quite flawed, and achieving our goals and objectives is tough work. Excuses provide us with reasons that help us explain away why we aren’t good enough. It affects employee performance.
3. See criticism as help and See what you can learn.
With some genuine reflection on how you can use criticism as a basis for improvement and employee performance, you can come to realize that it can be a gift. Nobody likes being criticized. But how you handle it makes all the difference. If you lock up and become defensive, you’re likely to waste a lot of time feeling bad–and repeating the same behavior that was a problem, to begin with.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Remember that everyone makes mistakes and has things to learn. Yes, that includes you. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes, but making the same mistakes over and over because you refuse to listen to criticism and learn is just stupid; it affects employee performance.
5. Ask Questions to Deconstruct the Feedback.
Feedback is a vital part of growing both personally and professionally. Being receptive to feedback helps strengthen relationships with friends and family and can help you further develop your career. Despite all these benefits, criticism can be tough to take in. Becoming an active listener, deconstructing the feedback, responding appropriately, and following up on the feedback you receive will help you to become more receptive to feedback.
6. Request Time to Follow Up.
When it comes to follow-up, I think they fall into one of two distinct groups: Checking in because you’re desperately hoping for a response or circling back because you urgently need a reply.
If you’ve ever job hunted before, you’re likely familiar with that first scenario. You’ve probably innocently popped back into the hiring manager’s inbox a few times with the faint hope that you’ll finally hear something back about the next steps in the hiring process. Yes, that radio silence can be disheartening.
But, honestly, it’s the second group of follow-ups—the ones where you, frantically, without-a-doubt require a response—that can be downright infuriating.
7. Say thank you.
Next (and this is a hard part, I know), look the person in the eyes and thank them for sharing feedback with you. Don’t gloss over this—be deliberate, and say, “I appreciate you taking the time to talk about this with me.”
Expressing appreciation doesn’t have to mean you agree with the assessment. Still, it does show that you’re acknowledging the effort your colleague took to evaluate you and share his or her thoughts.