Seek Criticism In Order To Improve Yourself

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Receiving constructive feedback, or criticism is hard. I know my automatic response is to become defensive and sometimes even a bit angry. There are even times where I attack the person giving me the criticism. (Who me? Never.) It is something that I am working on as I want to improve in my career and grow as a person.

It is easier to seek praise. Ask enough people around you and you are bound to find someone who will tell you want you want to hear; “That’s great!” or “I love it!” But in the end that is not helping you. You are not stretching yourself.

Instead of asking “Do you like this?” Ask “Can you think of anyway to make this better?” Or “How can I improve?”

You may not agree with the advice that you are given. That’s OK. You don’t have to agree with what everyone tells you. What is important is that you reflect on it. Don’t react to the criticism right away. Stop and take time to digest what you are being told.

Remember the goal of criticism. It is to improve your work, your skills, and your relationships. It may be as difficult for the person giving you the criticism, as it is to receive it, so listen with understanding. Repeat what you have heard to make sure that you heard it correctly. If you are unclear about anything ask questions.

After you receive the criticism, say ‘Thank you.’ It will be hard to do. Saying ‘Thank you’ does not mean you agree with the other person’s assessment but it does show that you appreciate the time that the other person took to give it to you.

You need to incorporate criticism into your life to ensure that you become a better person.

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9 comments

  1. Feedback spoken from the heart is a gift.

    I use my own model of heart based feedback that it never feels like you are criticizing anyone but is shows genuine interest in another.

    • That is a great point Lolly. It would be nice if more people would model feedback based on your principles of Leading from Within – from the heart. A lot of managers that I have encountered tend to blurt out criticism without putting in too much thought about how it will impact the other person. It does not come across as genuine interest. I like your approach. Thank you for your heartfelt comments. ūüôā

  2. Amazing post ooce again Chantal ! Short, crisp and infectious ! I love your delivery full of grit and passion… a clear and helpful call to action for all of us… I promise you one thing: kepp writing the way you do and I will keep commenting ! Amiti√©s, Johann

  3. I have often worked for companies where feedback – either positive or constructive – has been all but absent. This is of course frustrating, especially for people early in their careers that are looking for mentorship and self-improvement.

    As a career coach of mine once said, “Be the source of the communication you need”. I think you raise this well in your post, putting onus on the individual to seek criticism by asking for constructive feedback on projects.

    When providing criticism, I think it’s also important to note that presentation and word choice can be the difference between having it well received and having a resentful defensive co-worker.

  4. I love your advice of reframing how you ask for feedback. So often I hear, “what feedback do you have?” How much more inviting to say, “how do you think this can be improved?” Great post. I’m excited to include it in the September Frontline Festival.

  5. Thank you for the advice. It follows the process of learning and growing in a reciprocal process. It reminds me of the adage: iron sharpens iron. Receiving and giving constructive feedback only sharpens our leadership skills.

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