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The Do’s and Don’ts of Receiving Feedback

"Feedback" written in chalk on a chalkboard

Today’s topic comes with a lot of negative connotations. I’m willing to bet hearing Receiving Feedback gives you flashbacks to your last annual review or makes your stomach drop. 
Here’s the big reveal for today’s sticky topic:

Receiving Feedback does not have to be a traumatizing event. 

In fact, I hope you will learn it can be a wonderful learning experience and something to get curious with.

Ok Sarah, but what if the criticism ISN’T constructive??

This happens too! And it can be even more difficult to handle feedback or criticism that’s feels uncalled for or bordering on harassment. 

  • Still remain calm 
  • Have them repeat the point or repeat your understanding of their feedback. This might clear up a simple misunderstanding! 
  • Try to have a dialogue. Still try to get curious and answer questions without a condescending or defensive tone.  
  • If you find yourself getting too defensive or worked up and cannot reasonably have a conversation, simply ask for time to digest the feedback.  
  • If you feel the feedback might border on harassment don’t hesitate to contact your HR partner or a trusted leader.  
  • Be careful who you lament to after receiving this feedback. Don’t get caught up in gossiping or a tell all with someone who also has had a run-in with this person. 
  • If needed you can tell the person how you would prefer to receive feedback. I.e. If someone tells you in front of a group, you can follow up with, “I appreciate your feedback, next time I’d prefer we have that conversation in private.” 
Your goal when someone provides you feedback is not only to learn from them, but to make it easy for them to share insights with you again. While this feedback might not fit, the next conversation may just change your success.  

Comments (2)

All great points and an important topic to keep at the forefront of self-development. We talk so much about the best way to offer feedback, but we don’t spend enough considering how to effectively receive it. It’s a two-way street and we’re all responsible for training ourselves to work with feedback in both directions!

This was such an aha for me doing this work. So much focus on giving and so little on receiving. And it’s in the receiver that the message will land (or not!). What do you do to help yourself receive more effectively?

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