How to Receive Feedback

Last week, I talked about how to ask for feedback. Putting my advice to use, I had a really productive conversation with my boss about my performance so far. I got specific feedback about what I was doing well, and we came up with a couple of things I can focus on improving in the coming year. After our chat, I got a great boost of confidence from all of her positive feedback, but also had a game plan for how I could improve some of my weaker spots. Part of what made the conversation so fruitful was that I was prepared to receive the feedback, which is just as important as being prepared to ask for it. Here are 3 tips to successfully receiving feedback.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Be Receptive, Not Defensive.  It’s human nature to want to defend ourselves when we feel attacked. But when you’re receiving feedback from your boss, mentor or colleague, it’s necessary to keep an open mind. Critical feedback is the key to self-improvement and professional growth. If you have an excuse or comeback for every critique you receive, your manager is likely to conclude that you not only lack self-awareness, but are also unwilling to learn. Not to mention, it sends the message that you don’t value his or her opinion. It’s sometimes hard for us to recognize our own flaws and blind spots, and an outside perspective can give us the insight we need to advance to the next level.

Don’t Take It Personally.  When I was starting out as an attorney, my boss would edit almost every line of my written work, leading me to think I wasn’t as good a writer as I’d always thought. I began to wonder what value I brought to the firm if what I did best was  not being well-received. But the truth was that he was a better writer, and he was teaching me how to write like an advocate. Because of his harsh edits, I grew to become a far stronger writer and still use many of his techniques to this day. Women tend to internalize negative feedback as a personal attack on their abilities . It’s important to remember that a criticism of your work product is not a reflection of your intelligence or value as an employee or as a person and that every piece of feedback is nothing more than an opportunity to learn.

Express Gratitude.  Giving feedback isn’t easy, especially if it’s negative. If someone is taking time to evaluate your performance, skills, strengths, and weaknesses, you should thank them for that effort. Managers don’t always receive gratitude from their teams for the work they do, so a sincere, thoughtful “thank you” can be quite meaningful.

Using these three tips will help you to more effectively make use of the feedback you receive and will motivate those around you to WANT to continue sharing their insights with you.

How do you receive feedback?


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