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We’ve all been there – having to grapple with criticism, no matter what rung of the professional ladder we’re on. Hearing that your work may not be up to par is universally jarring. However, after a few decades in business, I’ve learned that this feedback is not to be dreaded, but rather, it is a powerful tool for personal and professional growth. It’s all about how we interpret and react that makes the difference. So, let’s unpack how we can transform the way we handle challenging feedback and turn it into a powerful tool for personal and professional development.

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1. Learn to View Feedback as a Growth Opportunity

It’s easy to feel hurt when you hear something negative about your work. But I try to look at it differently. That critique is just a spotlight on areas where I can do better. It’s like someone giving you a roadmap to become the best version of yourself. They’re showing you where you can grow and excel, and it’s an amazing opportunity for personal and professional growth.

2. Avoid Defensive Reactions

We tend to get defensive when we hear something negative about ourselves. It is human nature. I’ve been there. But it’s also the quickest way to block your growth. 

3. Get Clarification and Follow-up

Make sure you really understand the feedback. If anything’s unclear, don’t be shy to ask for clarification. The first step in making the most of feedback is truly listening to what it says.

4. Engage in Self-Reflection

I often find that the advice pushes me into some self-reflection. It makes you think about what you did right and what you did wrong. It’s a spark that gets you exploring and reflecting on how you can be better.

One crucial thing, though, is to be constructive with yourself. So don’t dwell too much on the negatives; look at what the feedback teaches you and how you can improve.

5. Make a Motivating Plan and Stick With It

Once you’ve taken the feedback on board, the key point is to then switch quickly towards making a clear plan. I will often push the feedback to the back of my mind and put all my focus forward. This plan should be positive yet simple, with strengths as well as development areas and some clear actions you can easily execute on a daily or monthly basis. Then, of course, you need to be disciplined with yourself to genuinely stick with the plan.

It’s not easy to go through this process, but extremely rewarding when you see the results.

Are you ready to make your next career move? Get in touch with our recruiting experts now. 

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