Receiving the Gift of Feedback

Brown package with Feedback is a gift written on it.

In an earlier blog post, we talked about giving quality feedback. Now it is time to focus on how to receive quality feedback. Often, when we ask our manager, colleague, or friend for feedback on our performance, we get the response, “You were good, no, really, it was great.” As feel-good as that is, it’s not really all that helpful! To get honest and helpful feedback, keep these tips in mind. 


Position Your Request

When you request feedback, let the person know the specific skill area you are working to improve and why their input is helpful. For example, you could say something like, “One of my goals for this year is to improve my business writing skills so my messages are clearer and more concise. As someone who gets a lot of emails from me, I would really appreciate your input.”


Narrow the Ask

If your ask is too big or broad, the person may not have the time, energy, or focus to provide you with quality feedback. Instead of saying, “Can you give me some feedback on my writing style,” narrow your request to one or two suggestions. “I was hoping you could provide me with one or two thoughts on what you think I am doing well and one or two suggestions for how I might adjust my writing style to be more concise.” 


Resist the Temptation to Pushback

Have you ever started giving someone feedback, and they immediately launched into a story about why they did something the way they did? Hmmm, I’ve been there – and it makes me feel like they aren’t really that interested in receiving my feedback. There may be a legitimate reason you did something in a certain way, but first, zip your lip and listen. Then, paraphrase back what you heard to show that you are listening. Finally, if you still think it is relevant and truly necessary for you to do so, you can explain why you did it the way you did it.


Seek Clarity

If the feedback provided isn’t clear or detailed enough, ask for more information. For example, you could say, “Can you give me an example of how I might do it differently?” Or you could ask some additional probing questions, such as, “Is this something you see in all my emails and my reports?”


Offer Thanks

You may not like or agree with the feedback you receive, but it is still a gift of insight into how another person perceives you. Of course, what you do with this information is up to you. But, like any gift you receive, you should express your gratitude. A simple follow-up email thanking the reviewer for their time and feedback will do. Be sure to note takeaway points in your email, so they know their feedback was heard and appreciated.

For more tips and guidance to achieve your professional success, contact us today!

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