You’re at your annual performance review. Your manager begins discussing pieces of your profession that could be improved upon. How do you process and learn from what is being said? No employee enjoys criticism. But buried within that constructive criticism can be helpful advice. With that said, here are several ways to make the most of that feedback so you can grow in your career.
Engage In a Dialog
This may seem like an obvious suggestion but hear me out. An employee who is on the defense during the entirety of their 1:1 is less likely to gain anything of value. Therefore, I have two main suggestions: ask for clarification and respond with follow-up questions.
Ask For Clarification, If Needed
Ask for clarification if your employer makes a vague statement about your performance. It creates a positive interaction and shows initiative on your side. As always, be concise with your questions and clarify your questions to your supervisor if necessary. Remember, that the idea is to a) continue a good relationship with your manager or b) improve your relationship.
Respond With Follow-up Questions
Likewise, responding with follow-up questions shows engagement and creates a healthy dialog between employer and employee. It is very helpful for the employee to ask the employer “can you give me an example of that?” or something similar. This gives further clarity and helps both to get on the same page.
Don’t Take Things Personally (Keep the Ego Out of It)
This is potentially the most difficult piece of advice to follow, as we all have an ego. And we all have an inclination to take criticism personally. That’s human. But to improve, one must step outside of their comfort zone and accept criticism as an opportunity to grow. This leads me to my next point about keeping an open mind.
Keep an Open Mind
Going into a review with an overtly negative attitude will impact what you get out of it. Employers who are either displeased with you (or even if they aren’t) will likely feel even more estranged from you if you come across as unreceptive.
Disregard Unhelpful Advice
This isn’t to say that everything your employer says should be taken to heart. Some of what is suggested may be unhelpful or misinterpreted. Calmly and respectfully discuss the situation and how it differs. However, if a consensus cannot be reached, it may be more helpful to move on to another topic.
Receiving feedback from your employer is inevitable and crucial in the workplace. Learning about your shortcomings is a tough pill to swallow but accepting constructive criticism can be valuable for growth, both inside and outside of the workplace. Take what you have learned in your 1:1 and turn it into something positive moving forward.
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