You’re not going anywhere in life if you can’t read this blog post all the way through in one sitting. If you can’t it’s because you lack discipline, one of the reasons you underperformed last semester. And without discipline you’ll never succeed in your career. Ah, the searing rebuke of negative feedback. Thank me later.
There’s conflicting reports about which is better for you, positive feedback or thoughtful criticism. But a growing body of research has uncovered that negative feedback is often what people need to take their career to the next level.
Negative feedback, the kind where you’re made aware of areas you’re falling short in, is necessary to pursue and achieve professional goals.
The first step is finding someone you trust. This could be your boss or someone else in the firm you rely on to cut to the truth about your work. The information does two things: it tells you exactly where you’re falling short and it challenges you to do better.
Several motivation theories suggest people who are just starting out in their careers crave positive feedback — they need to hear “good job!”— while those higher up the food chain with proven expertise rely on corrective feedback. These guys want to hear what they did wrong and what they might do better.
Eric Barker, writing on his blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree says this is essentially the difference between novices and experts.
Experts seek out review that says “You’re doing that incorrectly,” Barker suggests, because they are interested in progress.
Another side to this whole thing is that the kind of feedback you seek may reveal a lot more about you than you realise.
Beyond what it says about where you’re at in your career and your interest in progress, it may likely say something about your self-esteem and your commitment to your job.
So, no, you shouldn’t flake when your boss criticises your work. This an opportunity for growth.
See all those articles floating around your timeline about why you should avoid negative feedback? Ignore them. Sure, these people mean well. But take my word for it that’s an open door to mediocrity.
Promising new research by Stacey R. Finkelstein (Columbia University) and Ayelet Fishback (University of Chicago) found that over time people’s attitudes to feedback — positive or negative — will shift.
It’s entirely about what they need to keep them motivated around their goals at the time. But they are all but certain about one thing — experts tend toward criticism of their work because it’s what they find most useful.
Want to go farther in your career? Move swiftly toward expert status by seeking out thoughtful criticism of your ideas and your work. I don’t have to tell you the difference between that and abuse, do I?