As a professional, gaining feedback from your supervisors and colleagues is extremely important. Regardless of your career path or level in the organization, learning your observed strengths and weaknesses is essential to improving, building your personal brand and moving your career forward.
For young professionals who are just starting out, feedback discussions and mentoring is even more important. When you’re just starting out, you’re aren’t as self-aware as more seasoned professionals. That being said, it can be difficult at times to hear some of the more constructive feedback. I’m no expert but here are my tips on handling and getting the most out of your feedback conversations.
1. Go in with an open mind: Every time your supervisor wants to talk to you doesn’t mean you are in trouble. Be grateful he or she is taking the time out of their day(s) to give you some comments about your performance. Not every manager is willing to do that.
2. Be receptive and responsive: Don’t go mute during the conversation. Share your thoughts respectively and ask for specific instances when they observe whatever type of behavior you’re discussing. Try their approaches and solutions before claiming they won’t work. Taking notes also helps so that you have something to reference in the future.
3. Raise your hand: If you aren’t getting feedback from your supervisors, don’t be afraid to ask for it. You also shouldn’t receive it once in a while. You and your manager should have a consistent schedule for these types of conversations. This also allows for proactive coaching so that you (and your supervisor) aren’t just reacting to things that already happened. Instead, you both are planning for situations you might encounter in the future.
The only way to turn your weaknesses into strengths is by understanding your areas of improvement. Coaches, mentors and supervisors are great resources to help you identify these areas. It is your career, you need to own it and only you can improve your performance.
Do you have regular feedback conversations with your manager or mentor? How have you learned to handle constructive criticism?