People are naturally inclined to respond quicker to negative versus positive events, which can explain why so many of us are fearful of receiving feedback on our work performance. But understanding how you can improve your work performance is often the key to landing that promotion or taking that next step in you career.
If you're afraid of receiving feedback, here are 5 ways to cope:
1. Understand its importance
Sometimes understanding the 'why' is the first step to figuring out the 'how.' Feedback is important not just for your own performance but for those around you, particularly if you are in a management position. In that case, your co-workers depend on your ability to lead for their own career advancement and job performance. If you aren't yet in a management position and hope to get there someday, you need honest feedback to learn how you can improve your performance and which skills you need to hone to move up in the company.
2. Remember it isn't all negative
Feedback isn't all negative, although what we often remember most vividly is the constructive feedback we receive. Feedback is also positive and zeros in on what you do well. Focus on remembering positive feedback you receive. You might start to find you actually receive positive feedback throughout the week.
3. Rethink the conversation
Receiving feedback doesn't need to be a one-way conversation in which your manager or supervisor offers feedback and you sit back and take it. This can be an opportunity to find out how your actions impact and influence others and clear up any misunderstandings you have with your supervisor.
4. Give your own feedback
The main reason we fear feedback is a fear of feeling criticized and defeated. But performance feedback isn't necessarily personal. Take a step back to give yourself objective feedback. If feedback is coming in the form of an annual review, prepare by reviewing your performance and coming up with your own analysis of what you did well and how you can improve. This exercise can help you see that performance feedback is more objective than you think, and it can also help you slow down and focus on what specific steps you can take to succeed.
5. Reframe your feedback
We often take constructive criticism as an attack on our personality, which is why it can sting, at least initially. Take some time to really think about your performance review, and reframe the feedback to figure out how your assessment can turn into positive results for you and your team. You may find out that your weakness in your current position can be a strength in another position.
Receiving constructive feedback about your job performance is essential for improving in your position and moving up in your career. Take some time to prepare for an annual review ahead of time, and work on self-assessment throughout the year to evaluate your performance and come up with an actionable plan for success.