One of the big lessons I’ve learned in my adult life is learning to take feedback. When someone tells you how they feel about you or what you do, it’s easy to get emotional and snap back. As you can imagine that’s not a productive experience for either side.
One of my first jobs out of college was at a startup Clearspring. We were small and I was on the front lines of every inbound communication. A lot of people wanted to share feedback. At first, I had to hold back from responding emotionally.
At some point, I realized that if someone cares enough to take the time to share feedback that it means that they care. Sure the feedback can be hard but it’s HUGELY important and you want more of it. Feedback is how you learn to move forward.
Now, it’s important to say that feedback is just ONE data point. You have to learn how to evaluate the feedback but you also don’t want to live in a bubble, which too many people do.
When someone says “you suck,” say “thanks” and “how can I suck less?” That’s the attitude. You need to be grateful for the opportunity.
At Clearspring, my boss set the amount of product feedback I was able to pull in as one of my performance goals (KPIs), which I think is kind of brilliant.
All in all, I think it’s so important to learn to embrace feedback. It’s big part of how to grow and learn. And it’s all about learning.
Don’t be defensive. Be grateful.