Ramya was relaxing in her recliner smiling to herself, silently admiring herself for the way she had aligned all her stakeholders in buying the new ERP. She often indulged in self-appreciation and undoubtedly, she was performing quite well.
Next morning, as she was just about to reach office, she received a call. Her face dropped and heart started beating very fast. As she protested vehemently that she had not missed updating Kaya, a key stakeholder, passers-by started staring at her.
People react strongly to criticism no matter how it is given. It is difficult to fool people by sleights of tongue. Separate circuits exist to handle negative information / events and they're more sensitive than the circuits that handle positive phenomena. "Most people respond more to the bad than to the good," says Cacioppo, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago.
Wisdom also speaks that an inability to tolerate feedback is an inability to allow your own personal growth. Infact learners need endless feedback more than they need endless teaching.
How then as employees do we take feedback?
Accept that you are a human – You are bound to have a negative reaction so accept how you are feeling and remind yourself to stay calm.
Think positive – Think of the following situations / colleagues in your organization:
- A time when you provided a feedback to someone and had all the good intent in mind while doing so
- Have you seen colleagues around who have converted the stones which were thrown at them into milestones?
So it is more about what you make out of anything.
Understand better – By this time you would have calmed yourself down. Now you could engage in a constructive discussion. Try to understand what the issue is. Seek instances / data to help you understand better. If you see merit in the argument, then certainly do the next thing discussed.
Thank the other person – A lot of colleagues avoid giving feedback to preserve relationship but unknowingly they set you up for failure. This critic has risked his relationship to show you the truth.
Share your side of story – You might have made your own assumptions or could be facing some constraints that led you to act in a certain way. Consider sharing it with your colleague and ask any further questions you have related to the feedback.
Share progress – Is it really required to share your progress with someone? Well it does build motivation in us to stay committed. It also reflects to your colleagues that you are a sincere person.
If you are wondering what Ramya did… She had a good mentor in her life.
After the initial reaction, she spoke to her mentor who showed her the right way.