Take a deep breath
Critical feedback is hard to accept for anyone, not just you. It hurts to know that you are not perfect, the world is not love in with the way you are. And unlike many cliches, they are probably right and it is up to you to make changes in your life for the better. For all its obviousness, it is still not an easy thing to do. So if you are sitting in front of the one who has given the feedback, thank them and tell them you will seriously consider the feedback given to you.
Try not to feel enraged and get defensive. Don’t get apologetic without understanding thoroughly. Don’t try to pass on the blame or call it a misunderstanding by the other person. Just breathe and let the feedback sink in your head.
Get Specific Details
Sometimes the feedback is a bit generic like you need to show more commitment to your work, you lack passion etc. It is difficult to work on such general statements for what commitment and passion looks like to one person may not be the same for the other person. In such cases, ask for specific instance details and what you could have done better.
For Eg: I acknowledge that you feel I lacked commitment and passion in my work. I want to work on it. Can you please tell me specific instance when you felt this way and how I can work on the same.
Boss: You were late to work a few days even when we had critical delivery. We came up with a post prod defect on a module that you had worked on. etc
Don’t interject at this place, to put up your defenses. A good manager had probably had discussed these issues closer to when it happened and not just at the appraisal time. If this was not the case, you may tell them to provide prompt feedback to enable you to address issues immediately.
If this was a 360 review with feedback from your subordinates or colleagues, do meet a few trusted colleagues and ask for specific instances where they may have spotted you indulging in the criticized behavior. Seek understanding, not validation.
Take a decision
There are feedback and perspectives that can be worked upon and resolved. Some may not be in your best interest to do it.
For example, one of my previous teams valued people the most who overworked and spend a significant time in the office. Every Award ceremony, we heard how hard people worked, how many days they had not gone home or bathed to make the event happen, how little people slept and how they addressed issues in their off days and odd hours. I heard little about accuracy or timeliness of delivery. In my opinion they were either bad planner or sloppy executors. It is definitely not a behavior I would like to adopt if that was what commitment and passion meant to my manager.
We have different priorities at different times in our life. If your personal values and the corporate culture does not seem to be in sync, you may choose to leave and find a more suitable place.
Make a Plan
Often honest feedback is a great mirror. A good player always seeks critical feedback from his coach to perform better. We should also seek to improve ourselves based on feedback received. Now that we have carefully evaluated the feedback and understood what we need to work on to become better. Make a plan with implementation timelines and checkpoints to evaluate progress.
For Eg: Have you been consistently late to work? How about sending a mailer (like Monday Motivation etc), as soon as you come in. This time stamp will be a record of your login time. A public commitment of a mailer is a good commitment device.
Do your team members feel you are giving them little space to contribute and run the show. why not let your team members chair the team meeting in rotation.
Review and Improvise
Look back at the data or get feedback to see if you have been able to stick to your plan. What changes could be done on the plan to improve effectiveness of results.? Have you changed, but people still view you with old lens, may be you need to work on the perception. From the same trusted reviewers obtain feedback on how they feel things have improved and what you could work on further.
Getting better is an endless journey. Obtaining feedback with a open mind and working on it gives us a super access ticket to the journey. Hope you enjoy yours. Awaiting your true feedback. 🙂