CAREER TIPS - Here Are 3 Ways You Can Use Negative Feedback To Improve Your Career
Many employees struggle when it comes to receiving negative feedback. They view it as a personal attack which causes them to either go on the defensive or mentally check out. As a result, they disengage from the culture and hold a grudge against the company.
Receiving negative feedback can hurt especially when you have to continue working in the same environment or watch someone else get the position you wanted. Richa Bansal, founder and CEO of Pinkcareers, shared, “the ability to receive negative feedback without getting defensive and learning from it is an essential skill that can help one grow in their career.” She added, “the first step is to understand that the feedback is not about you as a person, rather your behavior or work.”
Here are three ways you can use rejection and negative feedback to improve your career.
Don’t Let Your Emotions Get The Best Of You
It’s important to remember that delivering negative feedback isn’t always easy for the one giving it. Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911, said “one of the most important ways to handle negative feedback is to exercise effective communication.” This goes for both the one receiving feedback as well as the one giving it. Those delivering negative feedback, whether a manager, HR or a colleague, need to be mindful and respectful of how they’re explaining an employee’s mistakes, a rejection or them failing to meet expectations.
It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you. However, leading with a defensive reaction is one of the worst things you can do. It shows the manager as well as your employer that you’re unprofessional and incapable of having difficult conversations. Additionally, David Meltzer, owner of East Insurance Group, asserted, “resistance to negative feedback means rejecting the idea of change. And in many ways, that’s a sign of a lack of maturity.”
When it comes to being rejected for an internal position, it’s human nature to get defensive and be upset. However, you need to trust that HR and the hiring manager want to hire the best person for the job. Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn Lawn Care, expressed, “it's hard for any hiring manager to have to tell an existing employee why they weren't selected for a job.” Being denied for a position that you feel qualified for and watching someone else get hired can certainly breed resentment.
Rex Freiberger, CEO of The Call Of, recommends taking some time to distance yourself from the decision so you can look at the feedback with a more objective eye. He added, “you're allowed to take time to be upset, so long as it doesn't become your central focus. Once you can get a little emotional distance, review the criticism objectively and “make a plan of what you can work on. If your manager is willing to help, sit down with them and come up with a roadmap for your improvement.”
Taking Time To Reflect On The Learning Opportunities
When applying for an internal position, no matter how perfect you believe you are for the role, the position is never guaranteed. At the end of the day, the company needs to hire the best person for the role. While an internal hire would be ideal for most companies, unfortunately, it’s not always the best fit.
Meltzer recommended, “the next time you’re rejected or given negative feedback, view it as one of the first steps to improve and be better. Getting insulted and being put down is another thing, but constructive criticisms should always be welcomed.”
You might need to be the one who initiates the conversation with your manager about your career path and how you prefer future feedback to be delivered. Active communication between you and your manager is invaluable for providing clarity and direction, creating stronger relationships, setting goals, building trust and preventing or resolving problems. Don’t be afraid to ask for concrete examples to better understand the mistakes you’ve made or why you weren’t chosen for a promotion.
Turning Feedback Into An Actionable Plan
Managers play a significant role in the development of their employees. For this reason, it’s fundamental that you work with them to gain their feedback and support so you know how you can improve and build a competitive skillset. Whether that’s improving work performance or advancing in your career, your manager will play an invaluable role in outlining that path for you.
You and your manager should be meeting on a frequent basis to discuss progress, challenges, achievements and the possibility of taking on more responsibility. In addition to working with your manager, proactively seek out resources in the form of books, courses, conferences or workshops where you can hone in on strengthening your skills as well as developing new ones. Leadership, organization and communication are some of the top skill managers look for in the people they hire or promote. Not to mention, their ability to handle difficult conversations and negative feedback.
Don’t be afraid to share your own ideas or goals. If your manager doesn’t know what your career aspirations are, they won’t be able to effectively advocate for you or help you to learn and develop. Some ways you can turn feedback into an actionable plan is mapping out milestones you need to achieve to take the next step in your career. Some examples of milestones ares improving performance, hitting sales targets, being a team player or developing skills. You can also ask to be mentored, whether it’s from your manager or a colleague or participate in cross-departmental training to be exposed to new skills.
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