In a recent interview with Airbnb, Sheryl Sandberg shared some of the lessons she has learned from working at notable companies like Google and Facebook. When she was asked what she was looking for in employees, she summarized a very important piece of career advice for young professionals. She revealed that she always looks for “Someone who takes feedback well. Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”
Being able to receive and process feedback is critical to not only your career, but your personal growth. But feedback – even when meant to be constructive – can be tough to handle. As much positive feedback we may get, it’s the negative comments from hiring managers or bad performance reviews that always stick with us.
Here are a few ways to use feedback to your advantage, and take actions on those comments so you can learn and continuously improve.
- See feedback as a learning opportunity
This is a key mindset shift when it comes to receiving and implementing feedback. Our minds tend to jump to conclusions, and assume the worst. But chances are, whoever is giving you feedback simply wants to best outcome for everyone and is invested in your success. If you see criticism as a personal attack, you’re more likely to hold yourself back from learning and improving. No one is perfect, and feedback in universal, so instead of seeing this as a negative, view this as a positive learning opportunity.
- Find a solution
While not all feedback is negative, the pieces of criticism that are usually mean there’s an opportunity to improve in one way or another. Be sure to clarify the intention and exactly what it is that needs to be done. You may need to ask your boss or the interviewer or whoever is providing feedback to be specific. The only way to use this as a learning opportunity is to actually learn from it! Feedback exists to make you better and help you solve problems in the future. Focus on the feedback, and not the context (or other assumptions like “my boss is out to get me,” for example) in order to truly find a solution.
- Move on
Negative feedback has the power to get us all down from time to time – but only when we let it. If you’re searching for a new job, you will inevitably come across rejection and criticism. But if you can shift your mindset to one of growth, you’ll find not only that you can learn a ton from this experience, but also that you’ll eventually find the best possible fit for you, since you’re continuously growing and improving. Every time you receive a piece of feedback, be sure to store it in your mind as a valuable takeaway, instead of getting hung up on it.
It’s a natural part of the process, as both a job seeker and an employee, to receive negative feedback. It happens to everyone. What makes the difference though, between people who grow and learn and people who get hung up on bad feedback, is what you do with it. You can choose to use it effectively, which will lead to your personal development, better opportunities and the career of your dreams.