How to get better at receiving feedback

21 Oct 2022

Employee feedback is important for the professional growth of any employee. However, when feedback is given, tumultuous reactions replace the calm and content composure that one intends to maintain. Employees often get angry, defensive or even feel insulted at what is being said to them about them while receiving feedback.

Although it is a natural reaction to fight back when negative feedback is given, the overlooking factor is why feedback is essential in the first place. It’s important to understand your strengths and weaknesses in order to progress further at work. If you keep carrying on, without being told that you could improve or if something you’ve done is good. You will eventually lose interest and meaning in the work that you do.

Why is feedback important?

When there is room for improvement, an employee must be told where they can improve and how. Initially, it can be hard for anyone to hear that they have been doing something wrong. However, it is when this is addressed that one can intend to make necessary changes that is required for their professional growth.

Being told that you’re doing something wrong is always a terrible feeling. But, one must be willing to overlook this factor if they want to improve.

In hindsight, if an employee is not accredited for the good work that they have done, they will eventually mellow down and feel like they find no meaning in the work that they do. Being told that they have done a good job or if their idea is good will motivate them further into doing better. It is always important to let employees know the status and progress of their work to ensure better performance from their side.

However, receiving feedback has its own knacks. Not everyone knows how to respond in a formal manner when being told that their work can be improved or not.

Nevertheless, people react to feedback like they react to fights or conflict—their first instinct is to get defensive or give excuses.

Do not do this

It’s all in your head. Your superior is probably telling you these things because it would invariably benefit the company and thus, yourself if you incorporated the feedback into your work.

Do not be overtly sensitive to the given feedback. You may want to try and take it in a positive manner.

Always remember that it is meant to help you, and not to throw you down. Despite what your mind tells you, the feedback is nothing personal. And no, the superior does not have a grudge against you. Because, honestly, they gain more from your performance.

Well, these are easier said than done, for sure. However, you must try and be aware at all times before letting the feedback strike a chord in your brain.

Here are a few key things to remember.

Employees often get carried away or insecure about how they compare to other employees. Especially if it involves a person in a higher position than you are. Therefore, if the person giving you feedback was someone in a higher position, you tend to take it in a worse way than if it was a colleague in the same position giving you the exact same feedback.

Employees are also quite nervous about the feedback itself. They may fear what will be said, what can go wrong, and basically the future or turnout of the feedback itself. The uncertain nature of the feedback is what puts the employee in a defensive mode. To top this off, the employee has no say or control in this either, therefore, it gives them all the more reason to worry.

The first thing to do to improve your reaction to feedback is to ask for more feedback.

It’s like they say, ‘practice makes perfect’. This will push your mind to seek more improvement more actively, and this is bound to improve the way you take feedback as well.

The second thing would be to listen as carefully as possible.

It is almost second nature to jump to a defensive stance when someone says something about the way you work. However, take a deep breath and listen to them. Reflect on what they are telling you and see if you can actually make any changes. This is your chance to grow and better your best. Even if the person is not saying something right, it is best to listen to them before reacting.

Be ready to accept your failures

This is not an easy step, however, it is important. It is impossible for any person to grow in their work without failing a few times. As the saying goes, ‘failure is the stepping stone for success’, accepting this fact will do wonders for anyone.

Do not overthink on different things

Try and take it in one thing at a time. This naturally makes sense because it will get too difficult for you to keep track of several critical comments altogether. Try and focus on one thing at each session. This will make it easier for you to incorporate the feedback and improve yourself for the future as well.

Be thankful

It’s best not to argue with the person giving you the feedback. They have told you what they think of your performance, and whether it is right or wrong, you are the one who has given them that impression. If you become difficult to approach when giving feedback, the likeliness of you receiving feedback will be less. And this is most definitely not recommended.

Always try and look at feedback in a positive light. Ultimately, a diamond is a stone until it is put under extreme pressure. This is all part of your growth and only you can use it for the better.

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