Feedback – The Gift That Keeps On Giving

If you are looking for consistent promotions, raises and generous bonuses, asking for and implementing feedback from your manager and colleagues can bring you success.  Receiving regular feedback both positive and constructive gives you an edge to improve faster.  This is because an outsider’s perspective will call attention to areas where there are development opportunities quicker than when you get around to noticing why you are not progressing forward at your desired pace.

Feedback is a gift because most people giving constructive feedback have to step out of their comfort zone because it is not always easy to tell someone the areas in which they are deficient.   Additionally, feedback is a gift because when you receive it and implement it, it sets you up for success in the future.

Although we feel most comfortable hearing great things about ourselves, it is important to note that constructive feedback does not make you a failure.  If you are not receiving constructive feedback, you are either not trying hard enough or you are not soliciting it.

Here are a few tips:

Invite feedback

One of the easiest ways to receive regular feedback from your manager is to make them aware that the feedback is welcomed. Inviting your manager to tell you the areas you need improvement on, puts her at ease from a potential negative interaction.

In my career I have given both my manager and subordinates the opportunity to provide me with constructive feedback. I usually discuss it with them in the beginning of our relationship by simply letting them know that I am always open to improvement and appreciate their feedback.

Ask frequently

Although you have given your manager permission to give you feedback, that doesn’t absolve you from asking for feedback.  The best way you can do this is in the moment when you are presenting your work product.  It is the perfect time to ask what you could have done better and how you could better prepare in the future. For times when you don’t have the option of walking your manager through your work, another way to ensure you are receiving regular feedback is to have regularly scheduled 1-on-1 meetings with your manager.  During those meetings make sure ‘feedback’ is a topic on the agenda.

Avoid becoming offended

Hearing constructive feedback is not easy because we live in a culture where it is considered hurting someone’s feelings if you tell them something about themselves that is not positive.

We must learn that just because it is not positive in our eyes doesn’t mean it is not a factual from the other person’s point of view. When you are receiving constructive feedback, try not to take it personal and keep an open mind.  I am not saying it will be easy to take it, but in the moment in which you are receiving the feedback, monitor your feelings.  If you notice that you are feeling upset or hurt, remind yourself not to take it personal.

If you feel you are receiving feedback based on misunderstood behavior, let your manager finish what they have to say. Once they are done, ask if you can provide additional context to the behavior they experienced. This keeps the conversation civil and productive. Becoming defensive will inevitably end in a heated discussion and may cause your manager to resist giving you feedback in the future.

In my career I have been in many situations where I have received feedback that hurt me. At first, I was defensive.  As I gained more experience and started managing and training people I quickly realized my stellar work products were a result of my former manager’s tough feedback.  Now when I receive constructive feedback, I spend time reflecting rather than taking it personally.

Apply the feedback

The most important part of asking for feedback is accepting it. The best way to demonstrate this is by making changes to your behavior.  When your manager experiences changes in your behavior it is a win-win situation.  Implementing your manager’s feedback will give them the confidence to recommend you for stretch assignments which could help define your career trajectory.

Don’t accept vague feedback, dig deeper

It is inevitable, you will on occasion encounter people who aren’t comfortable giving feedback. You will notice that when they give you feedback it is at a surface level. Don’t let them off the hook.  When you receive surface level feedback ask questions to get to the heart of the area you need to improve on. Ask for details and examples.  Also, ask how they would have executed the assignment.

Express gratitude

If someone is giving you feedback, thank them.  Feedback is a gift and affords you the opportunity to make improvements in your behavior which will benefit you in the future.

Also, expressing gratitude creates a trusted, open relationship where giving and receiving feedback is the norm. Receiving regular feedback is not only a gift to you, it is a gift to your team, your company, and the people you will impact in the future. With this knowledge, make sure you pay if forward and shar

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