Are You All Ears When it Comes to Feedback?

December 7, 2020

Being open to constructive feedback is a key component for success.

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Picture this: you’re in a meeting  (virtual, of course) and all of a sudden THAT colleague joins. You know who I’m talking about. Every office has one. He or she is the person that makes people cringe for whatever reason. They could be toxic, incompetent, rude to their team, or simply just not the right fit. But, have you ever thought that maybe that person is completely unaware of how much they impact the company? Feedback is critical for success but often times, we all run away from both receiving it and giving it. That colleague could have the potential to be great but perhaps he or she isn’t asking for feedback or he or she isn’t being given feedback by his or her manager. It’s a two way street. For today, let’s talk about receiving feedback. Asking for consistent feedback, not just feedback on a performance review, will enable you to fix mistakes and fuel your career growth. Here are some tips to start receiving feedback today:

  1. Remember that constructive feedback is not personal. Constructive feedback helps you see your blindspots more clearly and/or improve as an employee. If your goal is to grow and be successful in your career, you’ve got to be open to receiving constructive feedback. Since it’s meant to help you, avoid taking it personally and jumping to the immediate defense. Instead listen and focus on how the feedback can help you succeed, even if it hurts a little.

  2. Be proactive. Don’t be passive and wait around for someone to give you feedback. If you’re working on a new project, proactively ask your team or manager if they have feedback for you. Even if you’re not working on something new, it’s smart to have a cadence with your manager and/or team members to receive feedback (maybe quarterly). You’ll be surprised how much you uncover.

  3. Take it for what it’s worth. In most cases, applying the feedback you receive results in a positive professional shift. However, there are some cases where the feedback may be questionable. For example, I was once told that I should be harsher on my team. I reflected on this, put my personal thoughts aside, and decided that from a business standpoint being harsher on my team was not going to make them effective. Given that my goal was to make them as effective as possible, I knew that a combination of giving them direct, constructive feedback while also elevating them was going to help achieve that. Not by being harsher. Had I taken that feedback, it wouldn’t have benefited the business goals.

The moral of the story is to be open to constructive feedback, be proactive about receiving it and always use your best professional judgement in determining how and if to apply the feedback.

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Your Podcast Host and Career Coach

Over the last 12+ years, I’ve done everything from work as a global human rights activist to lead marketing & partnerships initiatives at companies like Postmates and Apple. I’ve started businesses, lived in multiple cities around the world, pivoted careers more than once, and know what it takes to turn career goals into a reality. As a career coach & consultant, I’m passionate about sharing all that I’ve learned with you, helping you define tangible goals, and providing you with the tools and direct feedback you need to achieve them.

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