Even though none of us relishes receiving criticism, it can have a silver lining (Tweet it!). William Treseder, a founding partner at Silicon Valley consulting firm BMNT, writes in The Harvard Business Review, we can use it to “slingshot” our growth.
Citing a personal story of being rejected by a Marine Corps recruiter and later being accepted after he lost 100 pounds, Treseder says that how we initially react to negative feedback can mean the difference between success and failure. We thwart ourselves, he says, when we take criticism of our behavior as criticism of our identity, when we are stubborn perfectionists, and when we cling to the fallacy that one person can be good at everything. To productively deal with negative feedback, he suggests the following:
1. Embrace emotions – It's only natural to be upset. Let yourself feel that, but let your upset subside before moving forward.
2. Don’t demonize: It's easy to label someone a jerk for criticizing you, but remember they at least made the effort to be honest with you.
3. Prioritize: Sort through the feedback to see what’s worth tackling first.
4. Piggyback on a skill: Target one key area of your behavior and see how you can improve upon it.
5. Commit: Thank the giver of your feedback, tell them about your goal to change, and set a time to meet again in a month or so.
Have you ever used bluntly negative feedback to motivate yourself to improve? What was the result? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion