I think you can tell a lot about someone by how they handle criticism. Today at work I sent an email out to everyone because we’d had three similar instances handled poorly in the one week.
The first reply from one staff member (even though we’d already personally spoken about it and she’d already apologised) was to again apologise.
My reply: It’s not just you – that’s why the email went out to everyone.
Again – she reiterated her apology and that she felt bad and would make a new day of it tomorrow.
My reply (in knowing the message had sunk in and trying to lift the mood): I get stuff wrong pretty much every day. Which means I learn stuff pretty much every day. Which means pretty much every day – I’m more awesome than I was the day before!
Her reply: You are such a star! You have an amazing way about you of wanting me to be the best I can be just to make you proud and see I am learning from my mistakes.
Thank you, thank you.
What more could I ask for? The message hasn’t been lost. She’s taken the feedback well. She’s called me a star (OK, a little flattery will get you everywhere). But most importantly she’s understood that we all make mistakes (me very much included) and that if we get feedback on how to get better it’s so we can learn from our mistakes.
Kirsty Dunphey is the youngest ever Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year, author of two books and a passionate entrepreneur who started her first business at age 15 and opened her own real estate agency at 21.