April 17, 2024

Receiving feedback or criticism is a funny thing. When it’s good, we accept it and when it’s bad, we doubt its accuracy. Lost in all the emotions could be some good information that could help your career. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of someone’s comments.

Just Listen: When you’re being told something that you didn’t do well, it’s very tempting to immediately interrupt and start defending yourself. Resist the urge. Listen to the comments and think about them for a moment before you say anything. When you do speak, say something neutral like, “Thanks for telling me that.” Remember, you’re on a quest for information that can help improve your skills. You may want to follow up with a question designed to let you know what you should do the next time you’re in a similar situation. “How would you handle the situation?” is a good one in that it gives you an example to follow.

Analyze Your Successes: When you receive positive feedback, it’s easy to start congratulating yourself but not think about what you did right. Here the ego takes over. But sometimes, it’s possible to stumble into success with no idea of what you did well. To get the full story, ask some questions like, “What could I do better?” which can keep the discussion going.

Don’t Carry Around Comments Like Luggage: It’s easy to hold on to feedback long after it can be useful. Listen to the information, consider how you can improve or continue a good practice, and then, move on.

Consider the Source: Most advice comes from a well meaning place but that doesn’t mean it’s always right. Upon listening to it, you may know immediately that it’s worthless (make sure you’re certain of this) but it’s still important to listen and then thank the person for the feedback. Just the act of listening shows respect to the other person. Sure, their advice may be bogus but if you overreact, then they’ll likely never again give you feedback, which could hurt you later on if their observations improve.