How to Professionally Receive Constructive Feedback like a Champ

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Mar 20, 2018

5 Steps to take the next time your manager, colleague or peer provides feedback

We can’t improve without constructive feedback. In fact, many companies encourage and seek feedback in order for professional development and growth opportunities.

As our fiscal year is coming to an end at GreatAmerica and Collabrance, we are preparing for our yearly reviews that include a professional development plan (PDP). This is an opportunity for leaders to sit down one-on-one with team members to review performance and set goals for the next year. Along with our PDP, we seek bi-directional feedback that includes an opportunity for a team member to provide comments to leadership, and vice versa for leaders to provide comments team members.

The next time you receive feedback, whether it be a leader, mentor, peer or friend, use these tips to professionally handle the situation:

  1. Listen to understand
    • Don’t interrupt. Listening to understand is different than listening to respond. Listen to get a clear picture of what someone is trying to communicate and share with you. Keep an open mind when listening.
  2. Respond not react
    • As you receive feedback, relax. Remember the person providing the feedback is trying to help you grow professionally.Pause if you feel like you’re going to react with emotion. Take a deep breath and give yourself the opportunity to respond thoughtfully.
  3. Ask questions for clarification
    • Many times we experience miscommunication that can escalate to frustration. In order to get to the root of the problem, ask clarifying questions for a better understanding.
  4. Say "Thank You"
    • This might sound crazy. But saying “Thank you” is a way to acknowledge that you listened and appreciate someone taking the time and having the courage to provide you with feedback. Saying thank you doesn’t mean you necessarily agree, but it shows appreciation and encourages more feedback in the future to help you grow professionally.
  5. Follow-up
    • Rarely does constructive feedback end with just one conversation. To show your efforts to make improvements, follow-up with the person whether it be in person, an email, phone call or coffee.

Remember, it’s not easy to give feedback. If we’re defensive instead of accepting, you risk missing out on improvement opportunities and may compound the issue. Everyone at some point in their career has received constructive feedback. It is not always easy to hear, but remember these tips to help take constructive feedback like a champ!

Tags: development
Category: Personnel

About The Author

Doug Grimm

Doug Grimm, Vice President and General Manager, is responsible for the overall vision, including sales, marketing, operations, strategic leadership and financial performance. Prior to joining Collabrance in 2012 as the Senior Analyst, Doug started at GreatAmerica in 2002. Before working at GreatAmerica, he served in various finance and accounting roles for a publicly traded company in the telecommunications industry. Doug began his professional career with Arthur Andersen LLP. In his tenure with GreatAmerica, he has held various positions within the finance department, and also served as the Director of Sales in the Office Equipment Group. Doug earned his B.A. in Accounting from Luther College and was a Certified Public Accountant.