Really, I’m Not Perfect?
It is easy to think that we are without fault, and the challenges in our workplace have nothing to do with us. Sometimes it takes someone else sharing their perspective in order for us to see the situation in a different light.
For most of us, early in our lives, we learn that mistakes are bad. Avoid mistakes at all costs. In reality, what’s bad about mistakes is not learning from them. That’s why evaluations and work reviews are so critical to career development.
So, it’s review time and you’re nervous, here are a few important tips!
1. Listen before responding. I learned this from Kevin Turner, COO of Microsoft. I heard him speak a few years ago, and he shared with the audience a story from his early years of leading a team at Walmart. Each time his boss met with him to give him constructive criticism, he was defensive and combative. So one day, his boss said he didn’t want to meet with him any more. You see, if you’re going to react that way anytime someone tries to give you advice, sooner or later they’ll just stop giving it to you. That is extremely harmful to your career. You want a mentor who will help you grow. So, as difficult as it may be to hear things that aren’t glowing and positive, just listen, take notes, and take it all in.
2. Repeat the situation back to them, to show that you heard them correctly. Take a breath, gather your thoughts and repeat what you heard back to them: “So if I’m hearing you correctly, you like that I have taken initiative, but I need to get permission from certain departments before implementing new systems.“
3. Ask for specific actionable suggestions for improvement Questions bring clarity. Ask things like:
- What two things would you suggest I do first to fix this situation?
- What do you think is holding me back from greater success?
- What do I need to do to be ready to take on more responsibility and advance within the organization?
4. Thank them for the feedback. While it may sting a little for a day or two, if you can leave the review and genuinely thank them for their candor and advice, that will go a long way. That tells them that you’re mature enough listen to constructive criticism and you’re coachable. Employers want to work with those that are willing to look inward so they can grow and improve.
While you may not by perfect, remember none of us are. Take your mistakes and criticism and choose to grow and improve yourself for your future.
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