I once participated in a team building effort for my facility’s management staff. The drive to build a more cohesive team included consultant led individual interviews, 360 degree feedback and an off-site group activity day.
During my individual interview, I wore gray pinstripe dress pants with a short sleeve turtleneck sweater. I was taken aback when the consultant offered unsolicited advice that she thought I dressed “too young.” I think what most caught me off guard was that the comment wasn’t followed up with any advice on what she thought would be suitable for the workplace.
My company’s dress code is business casual so I normally I stick to dress pants and a solid color button down shirt, throwing in some different accessories from time to time. If asked to critique my own workplace wardrobe I would say I consider myself fashionable but not “too young.”
The entire situation got me to thinking. What is the best way to handle unsolicited advice?
Considering my manager had never approached me about my attire and confident in my own abilities to dress myself as a grown woman, I decided to not put much merit into the consultant’s comment and not let it get me down.
During our careers we will all receive advice, feedback and criticism and some of it may very well be solicited and constructive. We shouldn’t be afraid to receive advice from others as it could play a part in helping us to grow as a professional. On the other hand if, and when, you do receive a piece of advice that you question, ask a valued colleague for their opinion on the matter. Finally, trust in yourself and have confidence in your own capabilities knowing that you made it this far in your career through hard work, experience and dedication.
And, when it’s all said and done, it’s your opinion that really matters most of all.
Photo credit iStockphoto