How many times have we heard the term, “It’s nothing personal, just business.”? It is in music, movies, and ingrained into our general culture. The problem is business is personal. We invest in them with money, sweat, tears, and time. Many personal sacrifices go into our businesses or our work. So how can it not be personal and what do you do about it? The answer is simple: Grow a thick skin and take things personally.
This most certainly does not happen overnight, it is not easy, but it is crucial. People’s criticism, although sometimes hurtful, is feedback and feedback is essential to business regardless of what the business is. Even outside of business it is vital. An individuals performance will rarely improve without feedback. 69% of employees state if they are given feedback they will work harder and are better because of it. Most of this is because they know they are being observed and that people care about them and the work they are doing.
If you are the author of a blog, you will be criticized (trust me on this one). If you own and run an ice cream shop, you will be criticized (probably less than the blog). If you invent a time-machine, you will be criticized. There will always be someone who is critical of you and your work. The point is to accept that you will be criticized and keep doing your thing. Do not let it deter you from your cause. There is no doubt this is much easier said than done and I struggle with this myself. But if you identify it as something worthwhile, and are deliberate about getting better at it, then it can be done.
I used to believe a good feedback mechanism was 360-degree feedback. I still think it is a great idea, but a much too “the world is full of rainbows” idea. People are very bad at taking feedback from superiors, let alone from subordinates or peers. In order to implement a 360-degree feedback system in your organization, you would need to spend significant time working through the culture to get the leaders of the organization to accept the feedback. Most likely, this approach would cause resentment from the subordinates because they would feel like their feedback is ignored. Regardless of your feedback method, if you do it enough and force yourself to evaluate what people tell you, you will grow a thick skin with it you will be able to take feedback from random strangers or customers.