Real Life. Real Strategies. Real Quick.
Smart Solutions for Working Women.
March 24, 2010
Issue #5

Receiving Constructive Feedback

Even more difficult than giving feedback, is receiving it.  It's not easy to hear someone tell us that we're not performing as well as we thought, or that we may have hurt someone's feelings with something we said.  However, when we're open to constructive remarks, we can change our behavior leading to more effective use of our time, improved relationships, and ultimately, greater success in our personal and professional life.

  1. View feedback as a gift.
    We all need feedback in order to learn, grow, develop and stay motivated.  Without that information, we are operating in the dark.  It really is a gift when someone takes time to give us the direction we occasionally need.

  2. Listen well and clarify as much as necessary.
    Ask as many "who, what, where and when" questions as needed until you fully understand the feedback.  Don't hesitate to ask for specific examples.

  3. Fight the urge to defend yourself.
    Becoming defensive prevents you from genuinely hearing the feedback.  Even if you disagree with what has been said, by becoming argumentative, your defensiveness will be remembered much more than any explanation you offer.  Try responding with, "I'm not sure if I agree with you.  I'd like to take some time to think about what you said."

  4. Own up to your mistakes.
    We all make mistakes.  The best way to preserve relationships affected by mishaps is to apologize sincerely and quickly.  If you dropped the ball on a project, provide an honest apology and then work out a plan to prevent the problem in the future.

  5. Don't merely be good at receiving feedback, INITIATE it!
    Asking for feedback demonstrates your desire to learn and grow.  It also allows you to more regularly receive valuable information you need for success.  It can be as simple as, "I'd like to get your thoughts on how I managed that project," or "Can you tell me what I can do differently to more effectively motivate my team?"

  6. Thank others for their feedback.
    Whether or not you agree with their opinion, let others know that you appreciate their willingness to be open with you.  It probably took courage for someone to give you the feedback; remember that they most likely gave it with good intentions.

Faun Zarge helps people find solutions for their work-life challenges.
She offers her practical, realistic strategies through a wide variety of highly interactive and engaging seminars.  Please feel free to contact Faun directly to discuss how she might help your organization.


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