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Feedback

I think it would be safe to say that nobody likes to receive negative feedback. It bruises our ego and we can become defensive when we hear criticism. That happens even though we know we should just accept it as feedback that can help us get better.

I can't even profess to be good in this area, because as I progressed through my career I was not very receptive to negative feedback (sorry to all those old bosses of mine!). I really had a bad attitude towards it, feeling that there was too much focus on the negative and not enough "praise" for the "good stuff".

As I have gotten older (I will shy away from the word mature in case anyone reading this knows me) I have learned the value of feedback. Of course I joined the workforce 50 years ago, so I guess that makes me a slow learner! (see that's me giving myself feedback ... or maybe it's just self-deprecation).

We always see ourselves a little differently than those around us, but it is important that we understand what "they" think of us, and what "they" think is important. It is input that we can use to modify our behaviour, tweak our operating style or give ourselves a major make-over depending on (a) the feedback and (b) what we want to do with it.

IF, as I used to do, we dismiss the feedback as irrelevant, off the mark or just plain wrong then we miss the opportunity to look at the feedback dispassionately and understand how we can use it.

While in my experience most people are like me, there are a minority of people who are excellent at listening, internalising and using feedback for their own gain, without letting it upset them. I think my biggest issue was that I took it personally, seeing it as an insult, when really it was my various managers just telling it as they saw it.

If YOU can master the art of taking feedback in a constructive manner (and it doesn't really matter how it is delivered) then you can use that as a tool to improve.

Any means of getting better must be a good thing, because it is you that benefits most!

Remember it's not a personal assault on you (even though it might feel that way), it is just data you can use to improve your lot in life!

"Negative feedback can make us bitter or better." Robin Sharma

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

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