No one likes to be told they’re not doing a great job, but this is reality. Everyone can improve and constructive feedback is a necessary tool for getting the information you need to make meaningful improvements. Effective performance discussions can help us understand what needs to change and why. They can be a productive and healthy way to get a variety of different perspectives on performance. But what happens when the feedback is less than complementary? How do you use performance feedback to improve?
Here are 3 things I recommend:
1. Looking and Listening
Looking at and listening to constructive feedback is an important part of growth, yet one of the most difficult things to do. Often the feedback can be uncomfortable, but if it is put on a shelf or filed away – never to be seen or heard from again – forward progress becomes impossible. Part of meaningful change requires feedback to be delivered back to a person, for them to look at it, listen to what it says and take ownership of the design and attitude of that change.
2. Having A Mindset of Continuous Improvement
Once negative feedback is out in the open, the initial feeling of personal insult will abate. The next step is to look at this feedback with a mindset of continuous improvement. Dig a little deeper beneath the surface and truly acknowledge that things need to change. If the feedback reflects something monumental or exposes a giant flaw, it’s necessary to accept it and move forward. Acceptance can be tough and even experts in their field have to come to grips with the fact that it’s not always personal; sometimes, things simply do not work.
3. Using Emotional Intelligence
As a leader in a particular field, it’s challenging to accept negative feedback and it’s easy to dismiss it as irrelevant or even irrational. Part of learning involves using insight and emotional intelligence to see the feedback data as part of a longer process of reflection and change and to increase your emotional intelligence with the information and experience from the feedback.
Negative feedback can be particularly challenging. But only by looking at it and truly listening to what it has to say, can meaningful change take place. Feedback is a productive, healthy way to ensure all voices are heard and multiple perspectives are taken into consideration.
Get the most value from feedback by going into it with a mindset of continuous improvement and use emotional intelligence to understand that varied opinions and varying perspectives are what ultimately drive optimal performance.