As humans, we care about what others think. This means we crave feedback from those around us, especially as it concerns our performance. But even though we love to hear how we're doing, we often hesitate to ask because we fear the negative feedback we might receive.
In my experience, what we really fear is what this feedback means about who we are and how we're doing. We think feedback communicates the real, whole picture. In reality, negative feedback is a mix of truths and opinions, of things that can be confirmed and things that may or may not be true. The key to accepting and moving on from negative feedback is to know who you are and use it as a tool to help you further understand others and their perception of you, which is different than thinking the feedback directly defines who you are.
That's where the true value of receiving this type of feedback comes into play. When you can do that, you're on your way to understanding your environment and yourself, which will only benefit your career.
Here are three reasons you should ask for feedback even when you're hesitant.
1. You learn how well suited you are to your job and company.
We often assume we are in the right job at the right company just because we were hired for the role. Sadly, that's often not the case. What's worse is that I've found most people have trouble recognizing when they're in a job that's not the right fit.
Negative feedback can be helpful in establishing just how well you fit in your role and in the company. If you're told you need to be different from who you are, it's a clear mismatch. If people are completely off base with their perceptions of you, then it could be a bad cultural fit. If the feedback is insightful, helpful, and allows you to see your blind spots, however, then you're probably in the right place. The key is asking for feedback in the first place and deciphering what it means in terms of your role at the company.
2. You prove you're willing to work on what's not working.
There is nothing more inspiring than a leader who is open to growth and willing to admit their faults. Accepting negative feedback shows you're willing to work on what's not working right now, which makes you seem confident, open, and thoughtful. By pushing your fear to the side, you prove you're someone who is worthy of an investment. So ask for the feedback and be receptive to what you hear because it could pay off in the future.
3. You learn about how you impact others.
One of the most useful pieces of feedback you can receive involves what kind of impact you're having on other people. If your feedback reveals you're impacting those around you in a positive way, you'll be more motivated to continue doing what you're doing. If you learn you are negatively impacting others, that's good to know as well. After all, how can you work on being better if you don't know what's not working? I would suggest specifically asking your team or those that work for you what kind of impact you've had on them. It gives you the information you need to do better and support those around you.
At the end of the day, you have more to lose by not asking for feedback. Ask now and avoid the risk of getting blindsided later when there's no chance to address what's not working. Whether you receive good news and leave more motivated than ever or leave with ways you can improve, the benefits of feedback will be invaluable now and later on in your career.