Have you ever thought about the last time you asked your boss or a colleague what they liked about your work style, or to give you an honest opinion on what you can do to improve? The benefit of professional feedback forces us to take some time to assess ourselves and challenges us to THINK about what we can do to make our work flow processes easier; also, how we can contribute in new ways and improve our performance.
Constructive criticism can be painful but forces us to learn our actions and attitudes impact others. Find a good time and a quite space to talk, plan a meeting in advance, not when deadlines are due. When asking from this type of feedback from a boss or colleague, it is important to stay open and not get defensive about what we can do better. Take in the information and focus on our own actions, rather than that of others.
Listening is important. Let them do the talking, showing you respect the opinions they are expressing. Stay positive in your approach and ask them to give examples of situations in which you could have done better; also, asking for an example of what would have been a better response on your part. Taking notes at this time will help you remember and can turn this into a learning experience, offering tips on how you can do your job better.
Having these conversations can also help reduce workplace anxiety, set in place boundaries and protocols of expected behavior, and allow trust and respect to replace insecurity. Don’t forget to thank the person for their guidance and ask them if it is ok to keep the door open to have another conversation in the future, tracking your progress.
Creating a positive and receptive environment for personal growth and learning shows an employer you are a team player that is working to stay for the long haul, opposed to just going through the motions of your job. It allows the people around you to build relationships and to appreciate your efforts to improve, setting the stage for open communication in your career.