Handling feedback at work like a pro
Feedback, whether good or bad, is inevitable at work. Your manager is there to tell you what you do well and what you could improve on. If you receive some constructive criticism, don’t take it personally. The best thing to do is listen, accept it and try to improve.
If your manager isn’t the most forthcoming when it comes to feedback, don’t feel embarrassed to ask for some. If you have a quarterly review at work, this could be the perfect time to ask how you’re doing. Alternatively, set up a meeting and let your manager know what you want to do.
Ever had some feedback that started with… “I think this is a good start, but”? Hearing this sentence can make you feel panicked and cause you to unintendedly zone out, missing out on important snippets of information! Remember, feedback is for your benefit and is not given to ‘catch you out’ so be sure to listen, maintain good eye contact and concentrate on what is being said.
It can be easy to misconstrue feedback and go away feeling puzzled about what’s been discussed. To avoid any muddled messages, it’s always best to summarise the feedback you receive to clarity the facts and to ensure everyone involved is on the same page.
Even if you’ve been told a few truths about what you need to improve on, always be thankful. You’ve been given a chance to work on your performance. Although it might seem counter-intuitive to thank someone after receiving constructive criticism, it’s handy advice to help you grow to your full potential.
If your feedback is centred on a mistake or misunderstanding, it’s important your apology is sincere. But it’s equally important to not continuously apologise for your wrong doing. Don’t be disheartened - everyone gets it wrong from time to time, it’s how you learn from it that matters!
It’s easy to forget minor details of a conversation, so it’s always wise to take note of everything that is said. Not only so you can remember everything, but so you can reflect later. Create a list of actions for yourself to ensure you know what to do.
Take the lead
Feedback is a two-way street - start the conversation with a couple of questions to get the ball rolling. It’s worth bearing in mind that asking closed questions will likely generate a yes or no answer, whereas asking open questions will provide you with more detail. For instance, ask some questions such as, “what do you think I could do differently?” and you should receive a helpful response.
Finally, follow up
Feedback isn’t necessarily a one-time thing, especially when it comes to your career growth. It’s a good idea to touch base often with your manager so they can update you on your progress. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, so proving you are being proactive and asking for follow up meetings will speak volumes.