Recently, I was part of a group evaluating the performance of a leader, and I was surprised at how physically and mentally draining it was. We have completed reviews in the past, and I firmly believe that they should always be honest, respectful, and authentic. Collectively, we are aiming for success of an organization with a mission that we all strongly support. As we concluded our evaluation, I sat down alone to write down a few lessons learned.
- If you can’t receive feedback without being offended, you will not grow in life. It’s important to embrace a growth mindset. Feedback should be a learning opportunity, and receiving feedback can aid in building our character and guiding us to do better in the future. It’s a time when we should be curious, and if you need clarification, ask them to elaborate.
- Strive for progress, not perfection. I think this was the biggest energy drain of our evaluation. The leader wanted an A+ for the work he had completed for the year, and he did good work. We told him that we thought he did a good job, and we were thankful for his dedication. However, it was the work that we expected since we hired a highly qualified candidate. Yes, there will always be extenuating circumstances that we have to adjust to (ie COVID-19 pandemic), and it’s during these times that we learn to be more innovative, more strategic, and flexible. I think it is important to be objective and grounded.
- Attempt to understand the intention. People do not communicate the same way so stripping away the tone, the technique, and even the timing can filter the intended message. It’s very hard to understand the message when one is on the defense or feeling victimized. If the person giving the constructive criticism is not being destructive, it’s best to assume that they are trying to help to make you better. I recommend that you focus on the message not the messenger or delivery.
- Give it a try & implement change. To me, this is the best part of getting advice or constructive criticism. What are you going to do about it? Typically, another similar situation rolls around and if I’ve accepted the feedback, I have another avenue as to how to handle the current situation. And almost 100% of the time, I do handle the situation better with more grace, confidence, and accountability.
Constructive criticism is not easy to receive. It’s okay to have emotions. But know in the end, the feedback will help you grow. True humility is being able to accept criticisms as graciously as we accept compliments.