Fact: Criticism Can Be Constructive If You Want To Develop Your Career

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Criticism or developmental feedback, as we prefer to call it here in the Excel office, can help you develop your career.

We are all quite sensitive creatures underneath the external armour we sometimes wear out in the big wide world.

A consequence of this is that feedback which is delivered to us, though meant to be helpful, isn’t always received as it was intended.

Feedback Is A Gift

If Warren Buffett believes feedback is a gift maybe we should take heed?

I love his quote:

“Honesty is a very expensive gift; just don’t expect it from cheap people” – Warren Buffet

The fact is, how are we meant to grow and develop into what is possible for us if we don’t seek out feedback?

When an individual joins an organisation they’re rarely the finished article; do you agree? I suspect so.

Here at Excel Communications, we’ve built a thriving global business based on the fact that organisations have growth as an objective and consequently need to develop their people so they contribute more.


Embrace The Change

During your career, there will be multiple occasions where you will have the opportunity to receive feedback both positive and potentially uncomfortable.

Feedback is a gift.

It can be easy to act defensively when someone gives you feedback, particularly when it hits our ego’s version of what we ‘should‘ be.

As human beings, we have many throwback default reactions, including defending ourselves when we sense an attack.

Sabre Tooth tigers are rare in the UK, or at least Marlow! However, our mind views the comments made by our manager, as similarly a threat to our survival.

You might think they don’t like you or they’re against you in some way. But it’s actually the opposite: if a person is willing to offer you honest feedback, that means they want the best for you.

Have you heard the saying; “ I wouldn’t waste your breath saying anything to Michelle, she is so defensive?”

Though this is a typical judgement statement, I bet you’ve heard something similar uttered in your working environment.

I feel sorry for Michelle because she will never have the opportunity to know how to develop and change and therefore, position herself to add more value to her organisation or step onto the next rung of her career ladder.

Be Proactive: Ask For It!

There is nothing better than asking for regular feedback from your manager and colleagues.

(Hint: Managers appreciate proactive employees that want to improve.)

To improve quickly and effectively, be proactive and initiate the conversation first with a manager or colleague. Truth? Unless YOU initiate a feedback conversation, you may have to wait and even then it may never come!

To prepare and get the most out of the gift of a feedback conversation, inform your manager or colleagues ahead of time and be specific on what you want feedback about.

Is it your impact or perhaps the way you influence others or the way you managed the last challenging project?

Being specific gives you the information you can act on about the parts of your performance you want to improve.

A process we use and recommend is called Stop, Start, Continue.

It’s an excellent way to have a balanced feedback session. This is an example of how the process might work.

– Stop: Interrupting other team members when they are speaking or sharing their opinion.

– Start: Asking open questions to understand stakeholders’ needs and motivations

– Continue: Asking for feedback and implementing the ideas you are receiving

Useful? We hope so. Time to take action and then watch your performance and career jump to the next level.


Nic Hallett


About Excel Communications 

Excel Communications has a 30+ year history as a global leadership and communication skills organisation dedicated to exceeding the expectations of clients through the training and development of their business and people.  You can view our case studies here.

We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across four continents in multiple languages. Isn’t it time you got in touch? Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.