There are times when things don’t go the way we planned. Perhaps you forgot about a meeting that had been scheduled a long time ago. Maybe your report or presentation didn’t go as well as you had hoped. It makes you wonder where your hard work and careful planning went. This is necessarily unusual, we have all at one point or another performed less well than what we are accustomed. But since your mistake has already been committed and assessed by your work team and supervisor, you might be left with constructive or even negative feedback. While we are usually accustomed to receiving positive, motivational feedback, what are we to do when we are given negative or critical feedback? Here are a few ideas to help you deal with and apply that kind of feedback:
- Go through it fully. Don’t leave anything behind. Make sure that you absorb and understand the gravity of every word that is told to you. This will help you comprehend the situation from your peers’ or a customer’s point of view. Be rigorous in actively listening to the person giving you the feedback so as to have a better understanding of what you may have done wrong and the effect your mistake might have had on others. Understanding what you did wrong not only helps you plan for the future, but it also improves your communication with the person giving you feedback since it shows them that you are willing to learn from your mistakes.
- Acknowledge and admit your mistake. Although you may have prepared and intended to excel in your task, this didn’t work out as planned. You must accept the sometimes difficult fact that you failed and your execution was not effective. Apologize for your mistake and after the feedback session, let the person know specifically where you believe you were at fault. Be careful not to fall into self-deprecating or defeatist behavior, since this might show others that you cannot get past your unintended mistake. While acknowledgment is important, it is also essential to be able to move on and discuss what can be done differently in the future.
- Find solutions to your mistakes. Once you have acknowledged the unintended mistake you committed, it’s time to find feasible and pragmatic ways to improve your performance. This may involve asking for additional feedback from other colleagues or considering the situation more in depth. Understand that the fact that you were given feedback, even if it’s harsh and critical, means that there is room for improvement. Ask yourself: how was my strategy during the presentation? Can I plan better so I can be better prepared next time? Were my calculations not as accurate as I had hoped they would be? These are the types of questions that will help you enhance your performance and even improve the confidence your peers and customers place in you.
FeedYak® provides a unique electronic platform where employees and managers can improve their feedback sessions. By using the tool that is video feedback, companies can develop their communication and workplace motivation in an interesting and engaging way.