Receiving feedback is part of doing your job. But many people get nervous about getting it from a boss or co-worker. It's not positive reinforcement that we’re worried about. It's getting feedback about the things we need to improve.
It can be challenging to take constructive feedback and not take it personally. Regardless, it’s still important to take it, and gracefully. Your ability to take feedback and integrate it into your work is a key success factor in helping you grow professionally. Those who do typically progress faster.
Below, we provide you with some actionable tips to accept feedback gracefully and integrate it into your work.
1. ask questions to understand the feedback fully
Sometimes the feedback you receive may not fully make sense to you at first. So, before you react, take a minute or two to take it in.
Ask questions about the feedback you receive to ensure you completely understand what your manager is saying. Don’t make assumptions and clear up any misunderstanding on your end.
2. leave emotions out of it
Receiving constructive feedback can be emotional. This is particularly the case when you receive it from your manager, or someone you highly respect.
But getting upset and reacting emotionally will serve no one. After you get feedback, take some time to reflect, let your emotions calm, and then react more rationally.
3. don’t take negative feedback personally
Receiving negative feedback is not a personal attack on you. Most people will give feedback in good faith. They are looking at your performance from a professional lens. They are on your side, and they want you to improve.
The only way to do this is by offering constructive criticism. So, take it as an opportunity to grow and improve rather than as someone tearing down your skills.
4. don’t dwell on the negative
It’s human nature to dwell on the bad, even if it’s small in comparison to the good feedback you receive. But this is not the best approach to take.
Always expect there to be something for you to work on and improve. And, whatever it is, don’t dwell on it. Spend your energy creating a plan for how you will improve.
5. take the feedback and determine what you can do to integrate it into your work
Receiving feedback is only part of the equation. Your next step is to think about the areas your manager wants you to work on and figure out a way for you to integrate them into your work.
For example, if your manager wants you to communicate better, make it a point to send out more emails and follow up with colleagues.
6. make a concrete plan to adapt going forward
Having a plan is a key success factor to help you grow professionally. In some cases, your manager will work with you on a strategy for you to upskill and improve.
Otherwise, there is a lot you can do personally to create a plan to improve. Perhaps it's taking a course to add a new skill or ask for advice from some of your colleagues who shine particularly brightly in the area(s) in which you find it harder to be effective.
Or maybe you need to spend more time learning about industry trends. Think about different ways to have a plan of action for the feedback you receive.
7. genuinely thank anyone who provides feedback
Always be gracious to the people who provide you with constructive criticism. By listening to this feedback, you can develop the skills needed to position yourself as a leader.
Keep in mind that it can be intimidating to give feedback, both good and bad. And if it’s your manager, they are likely having a similar conversation with the rest of your team. This is a daunting task. So, be thankful they are putting in the effort and care enough to work with you to improve.
Getting feedback is one of the main ways you will learn about your weaknesses. When you accept constructive criticism graciously, you put yourself in the right mindset to improve professionally and progress your career.