I was new in my sales role, so my manager was going with me to a client meeting, but I was the one who was going to deliver the presentation. I prepared, I rehearsed. So when we left that meeting, I felt like, “Yeah, you did it! This was great!” We’re in the car heading back to the office, and my manager starts to share some feedback with me – and it wasn’t the “Great job, Colleen,” or, “kudos to you,” that I had expected. Instead, she was giving me several key areas for improvement for the future. I am gripping that steering wheel so tight, my face is turning feet red, and I am fuming inside. I start to share with her all the reasons why I didn’t do what she was suggesting.
She stops me and says, “Colleen, this all just sounds like excuses. Listen to what I’m sharing with you for the future.” And she was absolutely right.
I mean, we all end up in these situations where you’re receiving constructive criticism, some sort of feedback. Maybe you’ve made an error. You need to get that information told back to you, and you are simply a human being who is hardwired for these emotional reactions. But, we have to be able to keep these emotions in check in the moment, so that they don’t come outward and jeopardize that relationship. Whether that relationship is with an external client, an internal senior leader, or just another person in your professional or personal life where you need to have a solid relationship with them.
So how do we keep these emotions in check? When you’re in the moment, again, because you are a human being, I want you to give yourself permission to feel the emotions, to just openly accept that you’re going to feel this way – but to keep this inside and not have it come out in the moment of this conversation. So instead, stay focused on the facts that are being presented to you. Listen intently to the actual data, the actual information and facts that are being conveyed, and just store them. Laser focus in on that.
Get rid of the, “Why are they telling me this?” Or, “I know I didn’t do it this way because of this.” Just hold all of that and focus in on the data, the facts being delivered to you. Once you are away from that conversation, take those emotions, go behind closed doors, and live ’em out. You can cry, you can yell, you can get angry. Allow those emotions to come out behind closed doors.
But here’s the additional caveat. You’ve got 24 hours, 24 hours, get all of that crap out, and then revisit that data that you focused on and make some smart decisions about how you’re going to implement those and move forward. Keep those emotions in check so that you can stay professional and maintain the integrity and strength of that relationship.