The interviewer would like to see that you can handle criticism and feedback professionally and productively. Nobody wants to hire the manager that believes they are perfect and have all the answers. Tell the interviewer about a time when your work was criticized and describe how you reacted. Did you implement the feedback? Perhaps you asked for further coaching. Maybe you took the criticism to heart and took a course or workshop to improve in that area.
"Last year, I had a manager of another department let me know that they noticed my team morale dropping a bit. She had overheard some conversations in the break room about my leadership style. These particular employees were complaining about my last-minute changes to the schedule, to be exact. I thanked this manager for approaching me with the information, rather than allowing me to continue being blissfully unaware. I asked for her help with scheduling, and she took the time to train me on her method for building out a schedule, one month in advance. I think her honesty, transparency, and assistance saved me from having these employees quit my team."
"I recently had my manager criticize my approach in pre-screen interviews. He thought that I should ask tougher questions from the get-go to better screen out. We have many applicants per job posting, so this feedback made a lot of sense to me. I have researched challenging phone interview questions and now mix them in with my usual question set."
"Last week, another manager approached me and said that he didn't like my meeting style. I was taken aback at first because the feedback was completely unprompted. I took a couple of days to think about what he said, and then approached him to ask for additional detail on his comment. He apologized for being brash and explained that he thought my approach was too lax. I told him that I would accept the criticism; however, I had this approach on purpose, to make my team more receptive to the information I was presenting. Nobody needs a stuffy morning meeting!"
"I have found that what most folks believe to be feedback can appear to be criticism, and that is because the person giving it isn't skilled in delivering honest and balanced feedback. I had a fellow manager tell me that I rambled on too long during a conference call, and while it was terrible to hear, he was correct! Instead of getting angry with him, I began to study how to become a better communicator. I joined Toastmasters, and it's been the best career decision I've ever made. That manager still blurts out what he thinks all the time, but I don't ramble anymore."
The last sentence made me chuckle. Of course he does! Ha. The fact that you so intelligently carve out the difference between feedback and criticism is a great added touch to this answer.
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