Facing feedback at work can be daunting. You might feel the urge to bury your head in the sand and hope for the best. However, it’s important to remember that feedback is inevitable, whether it’s interview feedback or a performance review at work. The best thing to do is listen and accept constructive criticism and use it to your advantage in the future. Here are some tips to get you started:
Seize the moment
If you’re feeling flummoxed when it comes to approaching someone for feedback, wait for that window of opportunity. Annual reviews at work, before a presentation or at the end of an interview are perfect times to ask how you’re doing. It’s important to choose your moment wisely; if you’re unsure don’t be afraid to ask when the best time is.
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.
Give yourself the chance to clarify
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.
Always be gracious
No one likes a sourpuss. Reacting negatively to feedback gives the impression you are unreceptive. 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. By thanking someone for their feedback you are showing your professional attitude.
If your feedback is centered 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!
Write it all down
It’s easy to forget little 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. Before approaching your boss, an interviewer or a colleague – always have a notepad to hand!
Take the lead
Feedback is a two-way street - start the conversation with a couple of questions to get the ball rolling. Don’t assume the person giving you feedback will kick things off, they might require a gentle nudge. 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.