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Being a leader takes practice. We’re excited to share our latest experiments and lessons learned.

Lindsey Reese
Friday, February 10, 2017

What’s your response when someone says, “Can I give you some feedback?” Do you run for the nearest exit, hop in your car, and never look back? Do you say “sure” as you prepare yourself to bite your tongue? Or do you welcome it as an opportunity for growth? I think many of us, including myself, have a tendency to take the first or second approach. When did feedback become a dirty word? How can we shift our mindsets to be more open and accepting of receiving feedback from others?

Employees who are receptive to feedback and who openly solicit it create opportunities to improve their self-awareness and overall performance. Additionally, interpersonal feedback is also a key ingredient in building relationships with others.

If you want to shift your mindset to be more open to receiving feedback, here are a few suggestions:

  • Assume good intent: If someone gives you constructive feedback, assume that it is coming from a good place and that he/she truly cares about your growth and development.
  • Use feedback as a way to connect with others: If you receive constructive feedback, view it as an opportunity to find a mentor or peer who can help you improve.
  • Own the feedback: Don’t write off the feedback or get defensive. Feedback provides you with an opportunity to understand how others perceive you. Use this information to identify specific actions you can take to improve.
  • Start small: Asking for feedback doesn’t have to be a big event. Find opportunities in your day-to-day activities to solicit feedback from others. The more you ask for feedback, the greater your comfort level will be with receiving it.
  • Be transparent about what you are working on: Share your challenges and areas of opportunity with colleagues you trust. Ask if they can observe your behavior and provide you with feedback based on your areas of focus. Check in with them periodically to track your progress.

There’s no denying that receiving feedback can be awkward, but it is a crucial part of how we learn and develop as professionals. If you’re willing to give it a go, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of feedback and techniques for building a feedback-rich culture, check out the great suggestions in this article.