Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What are your development blind spots?

Are you like Stuart Smalley? Or do you take feedback like a champ? (SNL)
"How am I doing?" is a loaded question. Are you asking because you want feedback that reinforces what is already working and feels good OR are you asking because you want feedback that helps you to improve your skill set, identify blind spots and advance your career? Both are important. Learning what is working well helps build on success. Learning what you can improve on helps fill in the gaps.

Hearing constructive feedback is never easy and never fun. We all want to think that everything we do is without flaw or need for improvement. We all want to think that it is the other person causing conflict, the other team that doesn't understand their role, the opportunity that wasn't set up properly, the customer that doesn't get it. It's not. Sometimes… it is you. Pause. Let that sink in. Sometimes it is you. You can improve.

We all have blind spots. We all need development. What got you to where you are will not get you to the next level. It won't get US to the next level. You need to improve, develop and grow. I need to improve, develop and grow. We all do. As individuals and as a team. That means me. It means you. Simple as that. And improving means hearing things that make you uncomfortable. Things that bruise your ego. Things you didn't know about yourself. It is not easy. But it is necessary.

In your professional development, you will sometimes get feedback that feels great. And other times you will probably get feedback that you don't want to hear. How you leverage that feedback, both positive and not, will determine whether you improve. Whether you truly hear and internalize that feedback will determine whether you continue to develop. And how you respond to that feedback will determine whether you grow your career.

There are a lot of articles on how to give constructive feedback. There are not as many on how to take and use constructive feedback. Kara Blumberg had a couple that I found very helpful. Both are brief. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes, turn off your distractions, and read them through. Then take a minute to think about interactions when you have asked for or just been given feedback. How did you take it? Being ready to hear and use feedback is an important start.

Taking Constructive Criticism Like a Champ

The Art of Receiving Feedback

About David Verhaag
David is the Vice President, Client Experience at Degreed, the lifelong learning platform. Prior to Degreed, David established and scaled the Customer Success function at Kahuna and HireVue and spent eight+ years with SuccessFactors where he led the development of the global Customer Value team. David lives on a sailboat in Half Moon Bay, CA.

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