Is it possible to receive feedback at work without having an awkward conversation? The quick answer is yes.
It’s entirely possible to hear constructive criticism without flinching. There are tried and true tips to help you understand the intent behind the message. However, the honest answer is that almost all of us cringe when we hear what we are doing wrong. Nobody likes to face a list of mistakes and shortcomings.
If we want to achieve our full potential at the office, we must learn how to receive feedback with grace and dignity. We need to see the bigger picture. What's the most practical way to receive feedback? Here are some thoughts.
Be brave and ask for it.
The most practical way to receive feedback is on your terms. Go ahead and ask for it. The quality of feedback is better when people ask for input and opinions before projects and relationships go sour.
Engage in the art of self-reflection.
Feedback is best interpreted by individuals who are humble, self-aware, and open to honest conversations about strengths and weaknesses. Very few of us are Gandhi, though, so just be curious as to why life unfolds the way it does. A constructive conversation will not shock your system or break your heart if you have an inquisitive personality.
A snappy comeback or a list of excuses might feel like the best medicine for a bruised ego. It's not. Don't say the first thing that comes to mind, even if it's funny and will lighten the mood. The first words that emerge from your lips are often defensive and rarely as witty as we think they are.
Disagree and commit.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, has a great leadership philosophy. It's called "disagree and commit." Once you've had a chance to consider feedback that's been given to you, make a commitment to take action. Even if the messages weren't entirely valid, think about how you can disagree but use the feedback to make your work experience a little more satisfying and fruitful.
Embrace the power of the pause.
The power of the pause is something Maria Shriver speaks about. This action will get you through all challenges, great and small. Just because you hear something doesn't mean you need to respond with a plan. Go home, go on vacation or go have a cup of tea. Take the time you need to understand what's been shared before you respond, and don't rush it. It's often in that pause – the time between our first reaction and our best reaction – where we discover the most practical and beneficial ways to respond to feedback.
Feedback can be a valuable tool if you receive it well
There are a lot of practical ways to receive feedback at work. The best way to do anything at the office is to take a minute and think before you react so you can carefully consider what’s been said and how you can use it to do or be even better than you already are. After all, just because the feedback is hard to hear doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage.