A personal look at constructive criticism

Tonight, I received a very lengthy email from a friend of GrabPERF who had some comments and concerns.
The hardest thing I have had to learn to do in my professional life is to listen to criticism, and not take it personally. It is something that does not come naturally to me, as my first reaction is to lash out and say something that will do more harm than good in the long run. With my personality type, it is even harder to stop yourself from writing that gut-reaction email when you are tired, frustrated by things in your professional life, and coming off a week of illness.
My first reaction to the email was…well, not polite. But years of experience have taught me to stop and think about my response before I send it. In the past, those emails and words have haunted me, and have destroyed some opportunities that I may have had.
I respect the judgement and opinions of the person who sent this email, and he is held in high-regard by someone I hold in high-regard. So an off-the-cuff answer was definitely not the right way to go.
I stopped. I took a breath. I walked away from the email for an hour.
When I came back to it, I was able to see that not only were his comments constructive, but they actually meshed well with my professional philosophy towards Web performance data and were ones that I should be acting on to improve GrabPERF.
In IT, sometimes we forget that walking away from the problem is the best way to solve it. With so many of us in this space saddled with various degrees of ADD and introverted personalities, sometimes we do have to step back and ask ourselves, “what would the smartest manager/director/VP/executive I know do when presented with this email?”
Opportunities and ideas come from everywhere. Some of the best are those that come from other people.
Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *