October 24, 2018

5 Tips for Being Receptive to Feedback

Most of us love hearing positive feedback. However, it’s common to be a little hesitant and even defensive when it comes to hearing constructive feedback. Whether it’s from your boss, peers, your team, a mentor or an anonymous survey, constructive feedback is a gift. Yes, a gift! It’s better to know than not know. Even the highest performing leaders and colleagues have growth opportunities. Here are my top 5 tips for being receptive to constructive feedback.

1. Take time to think through the information and its potential value

A common pitfall is to accept or dismiss the feedback too quickly. While it’s easy to react emotionally right away – it’s important to step back and process the information.

2. Practice attentive listening and resist the urge to react defensively

Reacting defensively can close your mind off to listening and the possibility for positive change. Paraphrase to check your understanding and ask for clarification if needed.

3. Perceptions are important

Try to think less about whether or not feedback is “right or wrong.” Instead, think of what (if anything) you could do differently to change the perception.

4. Avoid “villainizing” those providing feedback

When hurt or even angry, it’s easy to dismiss information and villainize the person who provided it. The reality is – typically people will not take the time to provide the feedback unless they were vested in your success. Change your mindset and try to see the message as an opportunity (and, gift).

5. Say “Thank You”

Yes, it can seem counterintuitive if you are upset. However, it’s the mature thing to do. Saying thank you isn’t about agreeing or even committing to doing something different. You are simply acknowledging someone for having the courage and taking the time to provide it to you. Remember, feedback isn’t just something to save for performance evaluations – it’s good to seek out informally or formally all year round. External perspective is powerful. I tend to seek out feedback from those I trust and those I’ve had challenging relationships with. Both perspectives are equally important and will contribute to your personal growth.

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