Thanks for the criticism

April 17, 2019 by
Thanks for the Critisim_1

I know it’s normally ‘thanks for the feedback’, but let’s be frank. It’s the bad stuff that stinks.

We get bad feedback sometimes. Everyone does.

Easiest thing to do with bad feedback is to label it bad. Bad as in, incorrect. What were they talking about? They must have been eating in another dimension than the one I was serving in because that’s definitely NOT the way it went down… 

Second easiest thing to do with bad feedback is to label yourself bad and then the feedback bad, in that order. They hated my food, I’m devastated. I feel like a loser. My esteem is ruined, and I’ve let everyone down. So please, friends, cheer me up by telling me the feedback is wrong.

These are the easiest reactions to have because, well, you’re right in part: there’s always something wrong about any feedback. Maybe they were vague about an aspect, or misunderstood the context or thought you were going to make them something else entirely.

Regardless of their wrongness, the more difficult reaction to have is to ignore the inaccuracies and ask for more. Tell me more. Understand the feedback rather than make judgements about it. Take it slow. What does this actually mean? They are speaking a different language to yours. Undercooked, not good enough, too salty. Undercooked to them might mean unctuous silk to you, so keep going, see through to the data rather than stopping at their interpretation.

Yep, this is super hard to do with anonymous feedback, but try anyway. Talk to the feedback. See it as a statement that wants nothing more than to be well understood. And if the feedback continues to refuse logic, well then, ask others who’ll give the feedback more directly. But don’t do it with those dog eyes, because you won’t get a real response.

Once you’re clear on exactly what was meant, ask the feedback where it wants to go. What advice does it have? Ok, so they wanted their steak medium rare and you gave them medium. But you did medium rare to perfection right? Well next time you’ll check you’re both speaking the same shade of juicy. Ok, so they want their meal faster. Could you do it faster? Well yes maybe you could and maybe you did! At the very least you’ll now make sure to time how fast you’re currently getting meals out.

There’s always something to get out of this pile of poo you’ve just received. Upsetting to have to dig through it, yes. You be upset! but do it with your chin up (at the very least it keeps your face clear of the poo) and don’t let it get in the way of your search for the gold deep down in there somewhere.

For an awesome in-depth exploration of receiving feedback, head to this book, and get ready to feel uncomfortable. Focussing on how we receive feedback (rather than giving it) is unusual. But really, in the end, it’s the only part of the shit show we can control.

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