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How do I get better at receiving feedback?

Key Note

  • When people receive feedback well, they drive their own learning.
  • Three common reactions make receiving feedback hard for people:
    1. They don’t understand the feedback, especially if it’s vague,
    2. They don’t trust the person giving the feedback because of problems in that relationship, and
    3. They’re offended by the feedback because it challenges a personal quality or attribute they hold dear.
  • Being aware of these reactions can make it easier to receive feedback.
  • People can also learn more from feedback by frequently asking others for a specific suggestion
    “What’s one thing I could do differently to better manage this project?”
    versus asking for general feedback
    “Do you have any feedback for me?”
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How do I implement this?

  • Think of a time when someone gave you feedback and you found it hard to receive it.
    Identify what made it so hard.
    For example, perhaps the feedback was vague, so you didn’t understand it.
    Or maybe you didn’t trust the person giving the feedback because of difficulties in the relationship.
    Or perhaps you found the feedback offensive because it struck at something you value deeply about yourself.
  • Keep this analysis in mind the next time you receive feedback and have a hard time accepting it. At that moment, practice setting aside your reactions and opening yourself up to the feedback.
  • To accelerate your ability to learn from feedback, practice frequently asking others for a specific suggestion related to something about your work.
    For instance, ask your supervisor,
    “What’s one thing I could do differently to move this project to the next stage?”
    This kind of feedback is much easier to learn from than general feedback given infrequently-and for others to deliver.
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