The Importance of Asking for Constructive Criticism

Image from Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

In a few senses, I fulfill the German stereotype. Mostly in that I like sharing my opinion. Depending on how strongly I feel about the subject, holding back can be more or less difficult.

It’s always easier to see the fault in others rather than in yourself. But we’re sensitive human beings and getting criticised can be easily hurtful – no matter how well-intended the feedback was.

So let’s try to shift our mindset. Maybe someone has observed something you do that is making you look unprofessional in front of clients or top management. Maybe you haven’t realised you say “um” or “like” too often. Maybe a flower-print skirt doesn’t match a checkered shirt.

Personally, I aim to ask for feedback or constructive criticism at least once a week on a variety of topics. Maybe your co-worker, team member, or boss has something they wish they could tell you; but they’re holding back so as not to be offensive. I want to find out what that is so I can adjust my actions and grow.

Here are some areas I am going to ask about or some ideas that might be applicable for you.

  1. After leading a meeting. Did I appear prepared? Was something off? What worked well?
  2. After participating and contributing in a meeting. Was my contribution helpful? Did I appear engaged and confident?
  3. My appearance. What does the way I dress communicate about how I view my job? Is there something about my style that bothers you? Do I have style?
  4. My vocabulary and speech. What words do I use often/too often? Do I sound confident?

Make sure you ask opinions from people you respect. Not everyone’s opinion needs to matter. Even though you might hear some things that may hurt or embarrass you at first, take enough time to think about it. The people around us can give us a whole new view on how we come across, and honest thoughts can be very valuable to finetuning our behaviour.

What are some other feedback questions we can ask those around us? Feel free to comment them below.

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