You know you’re not perfect, but that doesn’t make it any easier to hear someone else call out your shortcomings. When your boss or a colleague takes you aside to deliver constructive criticism, it doesn’t always feel great. However, it’s important to realize words of advice from others will help you learn and grow.
Some comments will be more helpful than others, but you won’t be able to separate the valuable advice from that with no merit if you don’t listen gracefully. Here’s how to handle the situation like the professional you are.
How to Accept Professional Feedback
Try Not to Take It Personally
Listening to someone discuss areas they believe you need to improve can be tough. However, when delivered genuinely, it comes from a good place. The other person believes in you and just wants to help you become the best version of yourself. Instead of hearing what you’re doing wrong, focus on the support they’re trying to provide you.
Allow the Other Person to Speak Uninterrupted
When listening to someone talk about your weaknesses, it can be tempting to jump in and add your two cents. Feeling defensive is a natural instinct, but resist the urge to interrupt. They’ll give you the floor when they’re done speaking, so until then, just sit tight. You might learn something if you give them the attention they deserve.
Ask for Examples
If you’re not completely sure what the other person is talking about, request further clarification. Asking them to provide examples of the behavior(s) in question leaves no room for interpretation. This will get the two of you on the same page, so you can try to understand where they’re coming from.
Thank the Other Person
Giving constructive criticism isn’t easy for most people. Your boss or co-worker likely dreaded having this conversation with you, so respect the fact that they cared enough to do it. Let them know you appreciate their feedback by ending the conversation with a sincere “thank you.” Even if you don’t agree with them, you can still respect and appreciate their opinion.
Consider the Source
All feedback doesn’t need to result in change. For example, if the comments were delivered by your boss, you probably do need to adjust your behavior. However, if a colleague you don’t have the best relationship with delivered the critique, you don’t necessarily need to take their advice, if you don’t agree with it. Really think about what the other person said, before deciding your next steps.
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