We all need feedback to grow. However nobody enjoys hearing that they’re underperforming. Next time you get constructive feedback, here are a few tips to make it easier
- Relax. It’s normal to be nervous during a feedback session. Don’t be so hard on yourself. (Tip: Try to imagine your boss on the toilet, it will help humanise them and make the process less intimidating).
- Expect the unexpected. Don’t be caught off-guard if you hear something that surprises you. Often others can pick up behaviours you may not even be aware of. Maybe something was more important than you realised, or an issue you thought was over wasn’t? Try to listen and absorb the feedback, even if it is something new.
- Hold back your defences. Don’t lash out, blame or make excuses even if you disagree. Rather than getting defensive, ask questions. This will help you get all the information to respond better when you’ve calmed down.
- Give it time. Don’t respond immediately to negative or emotional feedback. Instead, think over it for a few days and then follow up after you’ve calmed down. That way you’re less likely to react emotionally and to say something you’ll regret.
- Don’t shoot the messenger. Some of the feedback may be what your boss has received about you from others. As your manager, they have a responsibility to discuss this with you. So don’t blame or lash out at them for this feedback.
- It takes two. Remember it’s probably as difficult for your boss to give you negative feedback, as it is for you to receive it. And (s)he has to repeat this process with others, it’s not only with you.
- Focus on the positive. It’s difficult to do this at the time. However after you’ve given it some distance and time, you’ll be able to focus on the positives behind the feedback. Often it’s something that you can work on and by improving it, you can boost your chances of getting that promotion.