Constructive feedback is a powerful tool, allowing you to improve your performance and keep your career in the right direction. The trouble is that many professionals struggle if the feedback they’re given is harmful, even if it’s constructive. As a result, they don’t always hear the core message of what’s shared, causing them to miss out on a chance to become a top performer.
Fortunately, stepping away from judgment and seeing these moments as they grow is possible. Here are six tips that can help you accept feedback like a pro:
1. Don’t Offer a Rebuttal
In many cases, people’s first instinct when receiving negative feedback is to offer a rebuttal. However, that approach typically makes the conversation less productive. Your mindset immediately focuses on resisting, and that can prevent you from hearing the opportunities in what’s being shared.
If you feel yourself trying to form a rebuttal, take a deep breath and let it go. Then, refocus on gathering information, using a research-like mindset instead. By allowing your curiosity to drive your thinking, you’re more likely to get value from the conversation, making it easier to identify details that spur growth.
2. Use Active Listening
When you use your active listening skills, you increase your odds of fully hearing what’s shared. As the person speaks, focus on what they’re sharing. When they pause, paraphrase what you heard to ensure you understand. Ask clarifying questions.
Along the way, keep your language neutral. It’s not about making a person explain themselves or excuse their perspective. Instead, maintain a learning mindset, ensuring the feedback discussion remains constructive.
3. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
While hearing negative feedback is difficult, it’s critical to remember that giving it isn’t necessarily easy. The person you’re speaking with is likely as uncomfortable as you, even if they aren’t actively showing it. By keeping that in mind, it’s easier to maintain a sense of compassion.
Remember that they wouldn’t offer constructive feedback if they didn’t want to see you succeed. Even if the points are hard to hear, their goal is to help you grow. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have initiated the conversation.
4. Ask for Recommendations
When you receive negative feedback, don’t stop the conversation after you’ve heard the criticism. Instead, ask the person if they have any insights or recommendations to help you remedy the issues they presented. This part of the discussion is often easier to navigate, as it’s forward-thinking and growth-focused. Plus, it demonstrates your respect for their opinion, which can lighten the mood.
5. Take Notes
Many people struggle with remembering everything they hear. Since that’s the case, it’s wise to take notes when you’re receiving constructive feedback. This can help keep you focused on what’s being shared. As a result, it makes the conversation easier.
6. Take a Step Back
After you receive the feedback, take a step back to give yourself time to reflect. Doing that lets you absorb what you heard before responding and consider the best path forward. Plus, it reduces your chances of reacting emotionally, allowing further discussion to remain productive and professional.
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