In this blog, I look at why it’s important to receive regular feedback and that you can use it to your advantage (yes, even the negative one). And how you react when you receive it is also important and something you can work on. After all, it’s objective knowledge about yourself that will enable you to make informed decisions about your business. And your future.
What you know about yourself will make you stronger
Even if you don’t like what is said. The trick is to decipher what is pure frustration, which will turn into actionable recovery steps with a bit of a conversation, from the fundamental failings in how you do business. And I thrive on feedback. I make it clear from the start with my clients that I can take criticism as well as praise. But honest criticism is what makes me better at my job. I want my clients to feel absolutely comfortable telling me what I have done right and what I’ve not done so right. And I want them to give me details. Then I can improve on my work.
Feedback means I get to know the people I work for and their business better. It’s easy to overthink every word when writing. I wonder if I convey the meaning in the right manner. This is a sign you need feedback.
Feedback is a great motivator
Our working environment has become relatively isolated, even for people working within a team. So when you are self-employed it’s crucial to be able to receive regular feedback to confirm that you are making the right decisions for your business. Or feedback that will allow you to correct any actions and steer the ship back in the right direction. Either way, feedback is good.
I also find I am missing the ability to bounce ideas off other people. Colleagues that you would otherwise find readily available to chat to in an office environment.
An excellent tip is to nurture your contacts and check in regularly. Drop a line, send a message or pick up the phone and have a quick chat. It doesn’t have to be too disruptive. But having a network of people you can rely on for advice and views on what you are doing is invaluable.
Put on your growth mindset
If you are scared of asking for feedback because you are not sure you can handle a negative comment, do some prep work on yourself first. Don’t be defensive. The best thing is to listen and if you don’t know how to respond directly, then ask for time. This is perfectly acceptable. So you can reflect on what was said and what solutions you can propose. Remember that we are constantly learning and improving. It’s all about having a growth mindset.
Asking for feedback and accepting criticism means that you want to learn and get better at what you do. Building trust between you and your client. Own up to the feedback you receive. Accept it and then analyse it. You don’t have to accept it. But you can turn it into awesome results.
Make sure it is constructive
To receive constructive feedback that is useful, try asking specific questions instead of generic questions that will likely call for vague answers. “what do you think” will potentially leave you with “yeah, that’s good I like it”. Ask precise questions such as “Is my blog useful to my audience?”, “Is my blog answering people’s questions”, “Am I getting my point (which is..) across”, “what did you like least and why”.
As well as precise questions, you can ask for a list of priorities. When there are several things to improve, in which order are you expected to work on those things. What is the timeline to achieve all these changes.
There’s a very interesting article from Business Harvard Review here. It explains how leaders can get honest, productive feedback.
Now you have your feedback, what do you do with it
Don’t act on it without any consideration.
If you feel angry at what was said, ask yourself why? Did you spend so much time on that project and the results were not appreciated? Very frustrating. Remember that negative feedback doesn’t mean you are not up for the job. Consider the criticism and decide how you are going to act on it. You might come to the conclusion that your client is not the right fit, and decide to part ways. Maybe you have ideas that are out of your client’s comfort zone and you’ll just need some time to adjust and gain your client’s trust to implement them.
Now you have the knowledge. Update it regularly with new feedback.
PS – I have asked for feedback for this blog. Tell me what you would like to read about that would help you with your business. So I can write about it.