Your ability to receive feedback constructively and accept it, is important to grow in your career. However, many see it as a burden or threat to their existence or work.  One of the critical competencies of leadership and personal growth is the ability to receive feedback constructively.

Mostly we mistake this ability as a sign of weakness, nothing can be further from the truth. Ability to receive feedback constructively is a sign of courage and mighty.

When receiving feedback people need to be able to respond objectively, this can be a challenge for many especially if they feel threatened, incompetent or unappreciated. Some find it difficult to admit their mistakes. Personal reactions come across as a defensive response, disbelieves, arguments disengagement or disappointment to the other party.

You may need to recognize these and other unproductive reactions, to grow in your career, you would need to learn how to set aside your personal responses so that you can listen without making an emotional response.

Another common barrier to recieving feedback is closed-mindedness. For many reasons, you may not be open to or interested in hearing other’s perspectives. This will be especially true in situations where you are expected to change the status quo or present something you disagree with. In these cases, you may need coaching to consider what you hear, rather than reacting to it.

The whole purpose is to understand what the other person has said not to explain it all to elaborate on reasons for it. Once you have heard and acknowledged the feedback the next step is to thank the speaker for giving it.

Part of accepting the feedback is for the individual to recognize when they have made a mistake or acted in an unaccepted manner. However, many find it difficult to apologize when their actions have offended or created difficulty for others.  More often than not, we tend to offer conditional apologies, its best to avoid statements like “I am sorry, but….”. As a general rule, apologies are most effective when they are short, specific and sincere.

Only after you have received the feedback and acknowledged it, you should continue to look at the appropriateness of the input, this has to be done calmly and objectively. You need to learn the art of sharing alternative perspective in a way that makes sense to shows appreciation for the person who gave the feedback. As a recipient, what you understand and believe is occurring in the situation has to be balanced with others viewpoint. Denying other’s reality will only create additional conflict or disagreement.

Here are the critical steps that you can use to accept feedback as a gift.

1.    Listen carefully to what is being said
2.    Stay calm and be objective
3.    Acknowledge and clarify what you have heard. Thank the speaker for the feedback
4.    Check, if you need to share your viewpoint at all if so do so in a respectful and subtle way
5.    Evaluate, whether it will be helpful to apologize, and if so, do in a short, specific and sincere manner
6.    Think and make a decision about what to do in response to the feedback. Take appropriate action as a result of the feedback

By using these pointers, we hope that you can see your actions from the eyes of others and take steps to build a persona that is integrated with your ecosystem. Mind you, this is a not an easy journey, when you start you will face disappointment and rejection, continue on the journey irrespective so that you can hone your ability to take feedback.

Jappreet Sethi
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