You’re 4 Steps Away From Taking Tough Feedback Like A Pro
That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to Kori Linn, a career coach who helps her clients navigate tough feedback.
“I think a lot of us who choose to be our own bosses take our work very seriously, and that can mean we take negative feedback seriously, too.” she explains. “We want to be excellent at what we do. Feedback can actually help with that, but we have to engage with the feedback in a useful way in order to do that.”
To help, Kori shares how to take feedback without losing your rockstar status.
Knowledge is Power
As self-starters, we put so much time and energy into our businesses that any constructive criticism can be a total blow to our self-esteem. However, Kori encourages you to think of feedback as a good thing — yes, even if it hurts your ego a little bit.
“When we feel defensive, upset, or frustrated by negative feedback, that’s an indicator that we’re making the feedback mean something about us versus allowing it to be information about our work,” she says. “When we see feedback as information about how we can do better work, we might still be a bit disappointed but we can take that feedback and see it as something useful; a blueprint that shows us exactly how to go from where we are to where we want to be.”
Instead of thinking of feedback as “what you’re doing wrong,” Kori says you can think of it as “information that could help you create the exact life you’ve been dreaming of.” When you put it that way, receiving feedback can be an awesome thing. Just think: Someone cares enough about you and your business to help you succeed.
Prioritize Your Growth
Repeat after me: Receiving harsh feedback doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job.
“I love the idea of ‘yes/and’ for lots of things, and I think it’s especially useful for feedback,” Kori says. “A lot of us have an ‘either/or’ mindset. Either I’m good at my work, or I’m not. But ‘yes/and’ creates space for us to be good at our work and still have areas where we could improve.”
And, let’s be real: Even people who are amazing at their work often have areas where they could improve. One of the best things about being your own boss is that you’re constantly evolving. Instead, think of your feedback as a challenge to flex a different part of your entrepreneurial muscle.
Don’t Doubt Your Greatness
I know what you’re thinking: “This all sounds great in theory, but I always take things so personally.” Turns out, you’re not alone.
“The brain has a negativity bias, which means it gives more energy and attention to information it perceives as ‘negative,’” Kori explains. “This is part of what can make negative feedback so painful. Our brain will fixate on it, even if we received positive feedback as well.”
If you struggle with tough feedback, jot down a list of all the things you’re doing well. (Trust me, there are plenty of ‘em!)
“Focusing on what is working is not being optimistic,” Kori says. “It’s actually helping your brain counterbalance the bias and see things more realistically.”
Have A Plan
Of course, reframing tough feedback is only one piece of the puzzle; it’s important to turn that constructive criticism into action. As a freelance journalist, I work with many different content management systems (a.k.a. CMS). Admittedly, it can be difficult to remember what information to put in which CMS platform. So, whenever I get feedback from an editor, I add it to a growing document so that mistake won’t happen again.
Whether it’s a small mistake like my CMS switch-up or a larger issue like meeting deadlines, make a plan for how you’ll change. You might not get it right every time — you’re human — but a good-faith effort will show your client that you’re committed to growing.
Hustlers of the Week:
Hilary Dempsey & Kirsten Bosch
What do you love about running your own company?
We took a risk starting this business. Each of us invested our money personally and designed pieces of jewelry that we really wanted to wear. When you step out onto a ledge and create something you really love, it’s an amazing feeling to see people around the world wearing it.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned since becoming your own bosses?
FLEURI is a partnership, so for us, we really had to exercise clear and honest communication. To some degree, I’d say we’ve had our differences on almost every aspect of the business over time. We’re human and it’s like a marriage! You have to learn to work together and choose what will work best for everyone in the long run. We’ve made up a “scale of 1–10” tool that we use with each other. It’s simple, but we rate how much we really care about something if we find ourselves disagreeing. Whoever rates the higher number makes the call. It’s been really helpful along the way and helps put the small things into perspective.
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