How good are you at receiving criticism?
It can be wonderful as a compliment or as earth shattering as criticism. It can buoy your spirit or crush you if you let it.
One time where you usually get a lot of feedback is during performance appraisals. Oh, those nail biting times! But how you receive that feedback is important to consider. Here are a few pointers that will help you weather one of the most hated times for any employee.
Always remember that feedback is a gift. It is a time to learn what you are doing right so that you can do more of the things that please your boss and your company. It can also be a time to learn what you are doing wrong so you can do something about it before it destroys your chances to get ahead.
Most of us do not intentionally do things that we know will make our boss unhappy. We tend to think we are doing a pretty good job. But no one is perfect so it’s a good idea to occasionally ask, “How am I doing?” Or my favorite, “If you could change one thing about the way I do my job, what would it be?”
Performance appraisals are a time specifically for feedback. Your manager is setting aside time to help you grow and improve and taking a risk in doing so. Look on it as a benefit, not something to be tolerated, or worse yet, ignored. So thank the feedback giver for taking the time to help you improve yourself.
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Remember that perception is reality. Even if you think the criticism is not true, if they perceive it to be true, then it is. For instance, if she tells you that you are not dressing professionally, yet you feel that you are, it doesn’t matter. What your boss perceives or thinks is the reality. Ask some more specific questions in order to get more details on the issue.
Always adopt a “What can I learn from this?” It may not all be true, but probably some of it is. Check your understanding by paraphrasing back what you just heard and clarify anything you are unsure about.
For instance, if your boss tells you “You are not being a good team player,” ask for some specific things that you do or don’t do to make him feel that way. Maybe you don’t offer to help when you see that others are overwhelmed. Isn’t it better to know that than to wonder why you aren’t moving ahead?
Always assume the feedback giver has good intentions in mind. Either you win or your learn. Believe that the giver values you and wants to improve your relationship, even if the feedback expresses temporary dissatisfaction. Most managers do want to see you do your best and get ahead. If you take the feedback very personally, the giver may just stop doing it and you will be left to wonder just what happened to your career.
Take time to think about what’s been said before reacting to it. I know of a person who got so upset with some feedback he received that he immediately went to his office, wrote a scathing letter and sent it back to his boss. Wrong thing to do. Let things settle down before you do anything. Remember to “Never sweat the small stuff, and it’s all mostly small stuff.”
And finally, keep in mind that the feedback you just received relates to just one aspect of your behavior, not your worth as a person.
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About Trevina Broussard
I share valuable Customer Service tips and insights for frontline managers and employees on how to deliver customer service to keep your customer coming back. The name of the game is customer loyalty and it’s not just about satisfaction. It’s about a willingness to be a repeat buyer, willingness to recommend you to others, and resistance to switching to a competitor. Fortunately I learned this lesson through my 15-year corporate career. Poor service is an all-too-frequent experience for us all. I provide a framework for implementing ongoing processes that can build customer loyalty.