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Guidelines for Receiving Feedback

Are you ready for your coming performance review? Likely, you will get some very positive feedback. On the other hand, your manager might also hold you to a higher standard or have some tough advice that may be hard to hear. It is crucial to prepare yourself to listen and hear both the positive and negative things you may not be expecting. Here are some of the keys to receiving feedback:

1. Treat the feedback as a gift. When those you work with give you important advice about being more successful, be grateful for it, someone wants to see you succeed! Even if you disagree, remember that their perception is still a reality.

2. Detach your identity from your role. It is prevalent for us to confuse our role in an organization with who we are as a person. But, we are not our jobs! In fact, we are much bigger than our jobs. So, please don’t take tough feedback personally. It’s not a time to get defensive. It is not about who you are. The feedback you are getting is about a role you are playing. Similar to an actor who gets feedback from other actors, the director, and reviews. Or basketball players who receive feedback from their coach or teammates. Even if the feedback doesn’t feel like it is coming from good intentions, it is still feedback that you can use to make you better at what you do.

3. Don’t try to be right or make the other person wrong. You are simply receiving data. The last thing you want to do is get into an argument or let your emotions get out of control. If you feel this happening, take some deep breaths, do your best to relax, and recognize the feelings are temporary, and give yourself the time you need to ensure you respond appropriately.

4. Direct the advice in a way that serves you, again, without getting defensive or emotional. A great way to be prepared and respond appropriately is to have a few questions ready for your manager.

a. Ask for examples. If examples help you understand what the other person is trying to tell you, then ask. But be prepared not to debate or argue. In this case, you are trying to find specific behaviors, attitudes, and metrics to help you be more successful.

b. Ask for advice about specific behaviors, attitudes, or alternatives they would like to see instead of what they are seeing.

5. Make amends for past issues. Where appropriate, it makes sense to apologize and commit to being


6. Thank them for the advice. Let them know that their feedback is valuable, but be sincere. Remember, feedback is a gift, and the value of that gift could be the key to succeeding in your career.

7. After the meeting, it is up to you to ask yourself: Was the advice accurate? Was it valuable? Will I do anything about it?

You are in control of your career, and not every piece of feedback will get you heading in the direction you want to go. For example, if your manager provides you advice that people do not feel like you listen to them, that doesn’t mean you need to stop talking. Maybe the reflection here is that you simply need to show a bit more patience. Only you can decide how to use the feedback.


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