The Unique and Mysterious Art of Feedback Part II

This week I will be concluding the two part series on feedback.  My specific focus this week will be on “How to Receive Feedback in a Quality Way.”  We all say we want constructive feedback, but sometimes were not equipped to receive it.  Being skilled at receiving feedback can make the process much more comfortable for all parties involved.  Just as we talked about in last week’s blog (Part 1), we know that giving feedback can be incredibly difficult and takes practice.  While we trust that our counterparts are doing their part in learning how to best deliver constructive feedback, learning to receive feedback is a developed skill which also takes practice and can be daunting at times.

The Unique and Mysterious Art of Feedback Part II:

How to Receive Feedback in a Quality Way

Receiving feedback is a vital key to becoming the leader you want to be.  If we are unable to receive feedback in a quality manner, it has the potential to stunt our career track.  Our superiors don’t want to promote someone who isn’t receptive to feedback.  In addition, if we are unable to receive feedback it prevents us from being self-aware to change into the leader we want to become.

Don’t react to the initial sting of negative feedback. 

It will fade. And until it does, it’s hard to make good use of what you’ve heard.  Listen to what is being said.  It’s a good idea to refrain from responding right away.  Assume the person addressing you is coming from a place of helpfulness.  Although you may not like how the message was delivered, try to focus on the content.

Don’t Argue

Don’t be defensive or respond with anger.  Resist the urge to defend your work or make excuses, this is not the time.  Politely thank the person for sharing and being willing to be so open with you.

Be open to feedback, but not too open.

Always consider the credentials of the person giving you feedback and give extra weight to the feedback from people whose backgrounds make them especially knowledgeable, and less weight to the feedback of those who aren’t. On the other hand, embrace the notion that you can learn something from everyone, even from people who you may not respect.

Find the nuggets

It is easy to dismiss feedback when you don’t like what is said.  A great leader will take it in, sift through it and look for the gold.  Even if a lot of it may be off-target, resist the urge to say, “This is wrong and has no merit.”  Instead ask yourself, “How can I benefit and grow from this feedback?  What is helpful or useful?”  Don’t get hung up on the words.  Listen for the true message of what they are trying to convey.

Apply it

Use the feedback. Don’t just sit on the knowledge you’ve been given but use it to become the leader you want to become.

Final Thought

View Feedback as a Tool for Improvement

People often dismiss feedback because they don’t like it, don’t agree with it, or don’t like the way it is delivered.  Utilize the feedback as the valuable tool that it is in order to be the great leader you are striving to become.


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