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Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback

Did you read the title of the blog and think to yourself, “Ugh! Feedback – no matter if I’m giving it or receiving it – is HARD!”?

But giving and receiving feedback is an important part of any workplace. 

And it does get easier – if you practice both the giving and receiving of it. 

I’ll admit it was not always something I loved – especially receiving it! But then I realized the importance of it for my growth! And I’ve got some tips for helping make the process a whole lot easier for everyone involved.

Asking for and Receiving Constructive Feedback

Yes, you should be asking for constructive feedback. Yes, that means actively seeking it out! Why? Because it will only make you better! Trust me! And here are a few tips to make it productive and valuable.

Be specific about what you would like feedback on

Don’t ask for feedback on everything – it’s impossible for the other person to know what to focus on. Instead, ask for feedback on a specific task or project. Maybe you want feedback on a project or a presentation or your performance after a certain amount of time – these are all ideal situations where you could receive some feedback. And by providing a specific event, this will help the other person to focus and provide you with relevant feedback.

Make sure that you're open to hearing criticism

Nobody likes to be told that they’re doing something wrong, but if you want to receive constructive feedback, you need to be open to hearing it. Don’t get defensive – listen to what the other person has to say and try to see things from their perspective. (Yes, this is difficult – but be open to it! It will make you a strong, more confident leader.)

Ask for clarification on any points you don't understand

It’s important to make sure that you understand the feedback that you’re receiving. If there are any points that you don’t understand, ask for clarification. This will help to ensure that both of you are on the same page.

Thank the other person for their feedback

When someone takes the time to provide constructive feedback, be sure to thank them for it. This shows that you appreciate their input and helps to build a positive relationship with them.

Evaluate the feedback you received

Don’t just dismiss the feedback that you received and don’t just take it immediately to heart – instead, take the time to evaluate it and see if there is anything that you can learn from it. Even if you don’t agree with everything that was said, there may be some truth to it that you can use to improve your work.

Giving Constructive Feedback

Now, if you lead others, part of your job probably involves giving constructive feedback – and it’s a skill that can be practiced and developed. Here are my tops tips for making it easier for you and worthwhile for the person you are giving feedback to.

Be specific about what you would like the other person to do differently

When giving constructive feedback, be specific about what you would like the other person to do differently. This will help them to understand exactly what needs to change.

Avoid using general terms such as “you need to work harder” or “you need to be more organized.” These types of comments don’t provide any useful information for the other person. Specificity is crucial!

Focus on the positive

It’s important to focus on the positive when giving constructive feedback. This helps the other person to feel encouraged and motivated to change their behavior.

Avoid using negative language such as “you’re doing it wrong” or “you need to stop.” These types of comments will only make the other person feel defensive and discouraged. (Raise your hand if you’ve received feedback that was phrased negatively! Definitely not a good feeling!)

Be direct

Don’t beat around the bush – be direct and tell the other person what you think needs to change. This will help them to understand your feedback better.

Be respectful

No matter how frustrated you may be with the other person, it’s important to remain respectful when giving constructive feedback. Everyone deserves respect – and your goal is to improve the situation.

Be kind

Being kind is just as important as being respectful. It’s easy to be mean when you’re giving constructive feedback, but it’s not productive, and it won’t help the other person to improve.

Make sure that your comments are relevant

Finally, it’s essential to make sure that your comments are relevant to the situation at hand. Don’t bring up personal issues or past disagreements – keep things focused on the task or project at hand.

Giving & Receiving Feedback A Skill

Giving and receiving constructive feedback can be difficult, but it’s a skill that is worth learning. And truly, learning to give and receive it well can be a confidence booster – because it will genuinely make you a better person and leader. 

I’d love to hear your experiences on giving and receiving feedback? The good, the bad, and the ugly! What have you learned? What has it shown you about yourself? How did it make you better? Leave a comment and share!

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