Today we’re wrapping up our Feedback Culture Series by discussing how to effectively receive feedback. We’ve covered the importance of exchanging reinforcing feedback and given tips for how to deliver redirecting feedback. While we all know giving feedback to someone else can be a challenge, many of us could also use some guidance on how to receive it, too. We’ve boiled it down to three key things. When it comes to receiving feedback from others, we believe you need to seek it out, take it in, and then apply it.
SEEK IT OUT
To ensure you’re getting the feedback you desire, you need to proactively ask for it. Don’t simply wait for someone to come to you. Identify areas where you want to improve or where you perceive something could be interfering with your ability to do your best work and ask a coworker for feedback around those things.
Before you seek feedback, take some time for self-reflection. Consider from your own viewpoint what you think you’re doing well and where you could improve. This will help you feel prepared and will lead to a more robust, constructive conversation.
So, how do you ask someone for feedback? We recommend leading with curiosity, using phrases such as:
- “I would appreciate your perspective on…”
- “As I reflect on what went well and what could be improved, I welcome your input.”
- “What do you think is currently working and not working regarding…”
- “What are specific ways I can better…”
It can certainly be intimidating to invite others to give you feedback on your performance, but receiving this kind of input is vital for growth. And, when you’ve established a culture of consistently exchanging reinforcing feedback, you know that everyone has one another’s best interest in mind!
TAKE IT IN
Now that you’ve asked someone for feedback (way to go, we’re proud of you!), it’s time for the conversation. When you’re talking with the person giving you feedback, remain open and committed to the exchange. You may find yourself feeling defensive if you hear something you disagree with or that is difficult to hear. Instead of leaning out, lean in and ask for clarity. Use phrases such as:
- “Help me better understand…”
- “Can you tell me more? My experience/perspective was different…”
- “I think I had a different understanding of the expectation. Can we explore that more?”
- “Can I repeat back what I am hearing to make sure we’re on the same page?”
At the end of the conversation, no matter what, thank the other person for doing this. They’ve (hopefully) put in time and effort to give you thoughtful, meaningful feedback. Show them you appreciate them… and then, it’s time to get to work.
The feedback you receive won’t help you if you don’t apply it. Spend some time reflecting after your conversation and plan to take action. Focus on the future, identifying specific steps you can take to continue excelling in areas where you are performing well, or creating a plan to grow in areas that need improvement. Revisit your plan often to check in. Then, be sure to follow up with the person who gave you the feedback to see how you’re doing from their perspective.