"Glass Half-Full" Feedback
Receiving critical feedback for your work isn’t always easy. Even if that feedback comes with affirmations of the many other things you’re doing well on the job – it’s all too human to dwell on the negative aspects of correction. But focusing on these negatives can turn your teachable moment into a “glass half-empty” situation; leaving you feeling defensive, despondent and discouraged.
I've wrestled with how to best accept critical feedback for much of my career, no matter how gentle the approach of the giver. I tend to take correction personally. It’s not like I have a deep issue with authority or an overinflated ego – it’s just that I take my work personally because I care deeply about the excellence of my professional output and contribution to the team. Two of my work strengths are being both a perfectionist and a harmonizer. But the reality is I’m not perfect and will make mistakes. And the chances are good the supervisor or team member correcting you has also made mistakes and been corrected too!
Whenever I’ve received critical feedback, I’ve noticed that I am prone to enter a defensive “survival” mode all too quickly. But the more I begin to recognize my instincts and use judgment, the more I’m able to measure my responses and see critical or corrective feedback as a “glass half-full” situation. Even more than just a positive situation – it’s an opportunity for growth.
Creatis employees are teachable individuals looking out for the collective best of the team. But that doesn’t mean we’re not human! We are passionate about quality, and when that quality is called into question, it can sting. But it’s so important to be approachable and open to feedback. That’s one of the big components of our “Be Excellent” core value – being teachable is a trait that allows our employees to do the best work possible for our clients and themselves.
Here are 3 ways to grow from correction or critical feedback at work:
1. Take a Breath & Accept
You feel yourself getting defensive after hearing critical feedback? It’s only natural, but it doesn’t have to be your default reaction. Before you rush to justify or excuse yourself or your work, take a breath and think about why you might be receiving this feedback. Accept the situation and listen carefully to your supervisor or teammate.
2. Get Clarity
Acknowledge the feedback provider's complaint or correction, then respond thoughtfully. Try to summarize what the issue is and ask questions about how it can be fixed. If you feel the correction is unfair or a misunderstanding, voice that respectfully, but don’t protest. Giving feedback can be awkward, so be as graceful as you can in response. Talk through your actions and thought process. If you’re not clear about what the root of the issue is, it’s going to come up again.
3. Move Forward
Ask the feedback provider about the best way to change course and implement their instructions. Apply critical feedback to your work going forward. Make the correction and let it open other avenues of progress for you. None of us know are perfect or know everything, so it’s important to stay humble, check your ego at the door, and seek improvement wherever you can find it. True excellence is about channeling corrections and allowing them to spur your passion for progress and growth.
If we can follow these steps, we can let critical feedback make us better in our professional (and personal) lives.
Are you a marketing/creative looking for a new start in your career? Apply to become a Creatis employee today!