Feedback can be a fickle thing, depending upon who you are. Some people welcome feedback, no matter how much it sounds like outright criticism, while other people don’t like any form of feedback that does not paint them or their performance in glowing terms.
The latter approach is not a helpful one in terms of a person’s employment situation, job search, or career. That’s because feedback, when viewed and used properly, can be your best friend. And THAT is because you can use feedback in a highly productive way, making adjustments that will help you to become more successful in the future. And just about everybody wants to be more successful in their job and their career.
There’s a saying that “All growth is painful.” This is true, regardless of the growth to which you’re referring. Even physical growth can be painful for children who grow too quickly. This saying also applies to mental, emotional, and psychological growth. And yes, it also pertains to the growth of a person’s career.
One of the reasons that people aren’t able to fully leverage the value of feedback is because they become defensive in the face of feedback if that feedback takes the form of constructive criticism. Being defensive is counterproductive for a number of reasons, and below are the main ones:
- When you’re defensive, you focus more on what you perceive to be a slight or even a personal attack than on the feedback itself.
- When you’re defensive, you don’t take steps to make the improvements necessary for progress.
- When you’re defensive, the person providing the feedback will be less inclined to continue providing feedback.
Yes, nobody likes to be criticized, even if the criticism is intended to be constructive in nature. However, accepting feedback and learning from it is necessary for true growth and development to occur.
So what are the best practices when it comes to receiving and responding to feedback? There are really only two steps involved. They are as follows:
#1—Seek out feedback.
Yes, we’re actually advocating seeking out feedback, especially during the hiring process. If you’re trying to explore other employment opportunities, every bit of feedback can bring you one step closer to your dream job. So if people don’t provide feedback automatically, then ask for it!
#2—Be grateful for the feedback that you do receive.
When you receive feedback from people, thank them for that feedback. Do NOT become defensive. As a general rule, you should soak up feedback like a sponge, in the interest of continuous improvement. This applies not only to the hiring process, but also to your employment situation and career in general. Seek out feedback from everybody around you and then strive to improve in every area that you possibly can.
Because feedback, as we can not emphasize enough, can be your best friend.
The Doepker Group has experience placing professionals in the Information Technology and Engineering fields, and we can place you, as well.