How to learn from your critics

No one likes being criticised but none of us are perfect and sometimes we can use valuable feedback from our colleagues and clients to make our businesses or ourselves better and more productive. 

So here are a few tips to help you learn from your critics:

Keep an open mind

If you are ever going to learn from constructive criticism, it’s vital that you go into any form of feedback process with an open mind and don’t shut down before you’ve even begun. Keith White, head of PR and SEO at Dobell Menswear, notes. “I once had a 360 Review, which was an eye opener for all of the management in the team at the time, but it really provided the sort of criticism that was needed to further the business, and my management career.”

Don’t take it personally

As well as keeping an open mind, you should try not to take any comments about your work or your performance at work too personally, as difficult as that may be. “It was fed back to me that I didn’t share enough information with the team after management meetings,” says White. “I soon learned that the things I had gleaned from the respective heads of other departments was actually useful information to be passed onto my team, especially when it came to creating new campaigns.”

Make sure you stay approachable

As well as keeping an open mind, it’s also important to make sure you are approachable to your colleagues and team. White notes: “One of the other things I learned from feedback was that I always appeared very busy, which I was, but the team felt at times I was too busy to approach with what they felt were little day to day questions.” Making sure you are accessible is, therefore, crucial.

The client is king

If you run a client-facing business, it’s essential to listen to what those clients have to say because if you have no clients, you have no business. Inigo Antolin, head of marketing at Blossoming Gifts florist, says timing, quality and the expectations around the product are key to the success of a business. “It is really important to listen to any feedback as it is more expensive to acquire new customers than retain existing ones,” he notes.

Categorise the feedback subjectively

It is worth looking subjectively at any feedback you receive and seeing if it falls into any specific categories or gives you any insights into areas, such as being late to meetings or staying on top of the latest trends, which you or your business may be struggling with. Look for any recurring themes then think about what you can do help tackle them.

Look carefully at your products

If you are a product based business and there is an issue around a product, look at what you can do to improve or tweak that product or redesign it if necessary. “For example, are there any products that usually present problems? If yes, can you offer some solutions like redesigning a product or improving the description?” says White. “Is delivery a problem mentioned a few times a week? If yes, should you check the status and efficiency of your couriers?”

Keep an eye on your social media

Last but by no means least, don’t forget to keep an eye on your social media. In this digital age, businesses have to be more transparent and open than ever and it is essential to take note and respond to any criticism or comments you receive. Your company reputation is everything and you have to keep that in mind at all times.

Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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