Full Transcription for the video lesson below:
Hi there, I’m Farnoosh Brock and I help you become more successful at your job by working smarter and by using strategies that help you move ahead.
Having your skills attacked at work?
Today, I talk to you about a sensitive topic that actually came up in a recent coaching call. When this lady brought up this conversation, I remembered how I had to encounter this when it was early stages of my career.
Here is the topic: what do you do when someone attacks your skills and your abilities at work?
This could be your direct manager, or it could be another manager, or a peer or a coworker – what do you do? How do you handle that? And, how do you turn that into an opportunity?
For instance, you’re at work and someone comes in and says: “You know what? I don’t think your technical abilities are sufficient to see you through this project.” Or, you hear the feedback through your manager. It doesn’t come directly to you, but you know that someone out there is questioning your ability.
Your first reaction, and mine when I was receiving this kind of feedback, is to get defensive and to start defending yourself. “Well, of course I am able to do this. Here is the proof,” and when you do that, that ends the open communication. What you want to do is to be open to feedback. Whether it’s just or unjust isn’t the issue right now. You need to handle feedback that comes to you including these kinds of attacks on your abilities, with leadership and with poise, and that in itself shows that you are a mature professional and you can handle this.
Curiosity is the Key.
So, the first thing you should do is just take a deep breath.
The next thing you do is you show gratitude. I know it’s hard but you say, “Thank you so much for the feedback.”
The next thing that you put to work is curiosity. Curiosity means you’re actually surprised. “Oh, you know what? I didn’t realize that you think I’m not technical enough.” If you have certifications or anything that can back that up, you can say something like, “As you know, I am certified in this particular area.” If not, you skip that and you say, “So, could you tell me something specific that I could do better? Could you give me a specific example?”
Now, doing this shows that not only are you open to feedback, you are open to improving yourself. If the person that made the attack was just making it up for whatever reason, they will probably be quiet and have nothing to say at this point, but, if there was really something that you need to be aware of, maybe there is a gap in your skillset that you really need to fill. This is a good opportunity to learn from this person.
So, be open to learning but learn the specifics. General feedback usually doesn’t help anyone. Ask for specifics, listen carefully and then, decide whether you have to take action or not. If you do take action, make sure you close the loop by coming back to this person, this manager, this coworker, and showing them that indeed you took action on the feedback and now you have filled the gap.
Four Steps to Handling Criticism Like a Professional
I’m going to recap this process for you, and this takes a little bit of practice but this is going to really show you as a professional:
- First, take a deep breath.
- Second, don’t get defensive.
- Third, show gratitude. “Thank you for the feedback. I really appreciate it.”
- Last, but the most important, show curiosity. Ask for specifics.
If you put this strategy to work every time you get feedback, whether it’s attack or just a casual feedback, you are going to be successful and turn every feedback into an opportunity.
It Takes More Than Technical Skills to Advance
Your skillset will definitely help you move your career ahead, but you can’t rely just on how well you perform your day-to-day duties. You need to be learning the lessons of interacting with your peers and management every single day. Having your skills attacked at work can provide you with a great opportunity to not only showcase your skills but to demonstrate how you can handle a tense situation.
Crack the Code to Get Promoted is an online program that has all of those lessons for you, as a result of many years of trial and error within Corporate America. And if you’re like I used to be (full of technical know-how but lacking an understanding of office politics) then this course is for you.
Don’t wait for management to wake up one day and realize that you should be rewarded, you have to make them see it every day!