Both giving and receiving feedback are learnable, practicable skills. Receiving feedback is not about demanding feedback; it's learning to receive both positive and negative feedback and knowing how to act on it when offered. For those in a position to receive feedback, you may consider the following:
- For some, hearing the first few words of constructive criticism can elicit a dread response and lead to hyper-focusing on the idea that their work wasn't perfect rather than hearing what's being said.
- Acting on feedback starts with staying engaged and listening to the other person's points so that you can implement changes with clarity and direction.
- Just as significant as it is for the delivery to be done so with emotional intelligence, your body language and tone of voice when receiving feedback can impact the exchange's success.
- Looking bothered or bored can send a negative message and a lasting impression about your willingness to receive feedback in a professional work environment. On the other hand, engagement and attentiveness show that you value what someone has to say.
Be open and ask questions
- I've mentioned a few times that as the recipient of feedback, remaining engaged in the conversation is essential and can be of value to both parties. But staying engaged does not mean you do the 'smile and nod' having a healthy discussion with back and forth ensures everyone is on the same page. Ask clarifying questions to understand better the points of feedback or how to implement the changes. Asking questions shows that you're taking the feedback to heart and want to use it to your advantage.
Reflect, act, and follow up
- If you've received feedback before, how often have you sat down to then assess the value of the feedback? This can be a valuable exercise as it allows you to weigh the consequences of using it or ignoring it and can create a plan of action because of it. Your response is a choice, and if you disagree with the feedback, consider asking for a second opinion. Acting, implementing, or questioning shows you have good intentions toward improvement.
- Following up may happen in different forms depending on the feedback and the changes you choose to implement. Implementing changes, resubmitting the piece of work, or even scheduling a follow-up with the deliverer to discuss the progress. Using the feedback to inform your next steps will speak volumes about your intention and professionalism.
Feedback is a workplace norm and an important one! It exists to help all employees be better at their jobs and is crucial to a fruitful business. No matter where your career takes you, it is inevitable that you not only learn to accept that feedback will be a part of your interactions, delivering and receiving, with colleagues but also essential to understand how best to implement it.