The 365 Commitment

Day 211 – My Thoughts on Criticism (and 10 tips on feedback)

Over the years criticism has lessened in the impact it has on me. When I was younger if someone placed some criticism in my direction it would send me into a tailspin of agony and contemplation trying to figure out what I could have done better.

The Loudest Critic: Ourselves

However, there is no voice of criticism that will ever be louder then then one in my own head. There will never be a commentary that is harsher then what my own internal voice that screams at me all day. I have actually learned to appreciate when someone cares enough to provide criticism and I feel a bit of relief that the they only caught one of the 50 things that my own mind came up with.
There is and will never be a critic worse then myself.
Embracing Feedback for Personal Growth
An important consideration of self improvement and growth is to learn to accept feedback, and to welcome that feedback on a regular basis. Even more important is to provide the people that give feedback a response and follow through, or what we call a feedback loop.

Feedback as a Pillar of Business Success

This is also pivotal to business success. Establishing a formal and acceptable way to receive feedback, process that feedback and then provide a response. Any feedback, good or bad, constructive or hostile, is usually the most rapid way to make improvements.

The Danger of Avoiding Criticism

Hiding in your bubble, staying guarded and shielded from criticism is never a recipe for improvement. Invite and ask for feedback frequently and often and have a way to deal with it in a positive manner. I decided to think though 10 ways to improve how I incorporate feedback into my life. Here they are:
Shift Your Mindset: View criticism as an opportunity for growth rather than a personal attack. Recognize that feedback, even when critical, is a crucial part of learning and improvement.

Listen Fully: When receiving feedback, try to listen actively without interrupting or getting defensive. This shows respect for the speaker’s perspective and allows you to fully understand the points being made.
Ask Clarifying Questions: If parts of the feedback are unclear, ask questions to get more details. This helps ensure that you understand the feedback and shows that you are engaged in improving.

Separate Emotion from Information: Try to focus on the informational content of the feedback rather than the emotional delivery. This can help you remain objective and take actionable steps based on the feedback.

Reflect on the Feedback: Spend some time thinking about the feedback away from the situation where it was given. Consider how it aligns with your goals and what changes might be beneficial.
Develop a Response Plan: Decide how you will address the feedback. You might need to develop new skills, adjust your work processes, or change your behavior in some way.
Seek Regular Feedback: Don’t wait for feedback to come to you. Proactively seeking feedback can make receiving it a more normal part of your routine, reducing its sting and increasing its usefulness.
Thank Those Who Offer Feedback: Show appreciation for feedback, even if it’s hard to hear. Acknowledging the effort and courage it takes to give feedback can build stronger, more open relationships.

Practice Giving Feedback: Understanding how to give constructive feedback can also help you better receive it. It helps foster an environment of mutual respect and open communication.
Keep Perspective: Remember that everyone has areas to improve, and no one is perfect. Feedback is about your actions or performance, not your worth as a person.

Conclusion: The Challenge of Open Feedback Loops
These 10 tips are helpful when trying to figure out how to make receiving, accepting, processing and responding to feedback a part of your personal and business life. Yet as I write this, I must admit that open feedback loops scare me. Sometimes I just do not want the truth, because I do not want the voice in my head to validated in any way. I can hear it now, “see I told you so, you are being stupid and silly.” However, I know that this is flawed. All feedback must be viewed as good because the truth of the situation is ultimately best understood from those who are impacted by it. If I am unable to or unwilling to hear their voice, then I most assuredly will fail.

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