Negative feedback as a source of personal growth

This week has been one of the most challenging in my career so far.

After an intense series of strategy meetings, I received some pretty comprehensive feedback from my boss.

That feedback was not positive and it was not on a point of detail.

It was on several key components of the way I have driven my project in the past few weeks. The feedback was mostly fair, substantiated. It was delivered in a rather thoughtful way.

But of course, it stung like hell.

I am still processing it and am still in the I want to curl up as a wounded animal phase.

I keep repeating myself that there are only advantages to receiving bad feedback :

  1. It gives you an opportunity to improve and grow : Yes it hurts, but it gives you room for progression. A clear piece of feedback is invaluable in setting the direction for your development.
  2. It is a sign of trust from your boss : he or she believes in you and in your potential to do better otherwise they would not have spoken up. As a manager, giving negative feedback is difficult and uncomfortable so you only do it when you know the person can improve.
  3. It gives you a challenge and can revitalize you in your work : It gives you a chance to show what you are capable of. It can even give you that revenge spirit : I will show them what I am capable of.
  4. It forces you to focus on yourself and your own personal growth, and not just on the growth of the people in your team or the success of the project you are working on. Working on a challenging feedback is investing in yourself.

I have been back from Mat leave for 3 months now and it can be a challenging time for new (or second-time) mothers. The first weeks back are exciting, buzzing and full of new things, and, as people half-expect you to be tired and not very productive, it is easy to impress. But as the novelty wears off, the fatigue intensifies and the day-to-day life becomes a bit overwhelming, it becomes harder to perform well. Especially when there is a baby waiting at home for you and staying late in the office to polish everything is not an option anymore.

Negative feedback is an opportunity for improvement and not a personal setback. Embracing it and reflecting on it can mean a step change in your career, especially when your life has changed as you have started or expanded your family. Hitting a low means bouncing back and this can do wonders in building self-confidence.

Professionals everywhere, parents or not, lets hold the tiger by the tail and hold on !

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