Almost everyone knows that their evaluation and the feedback they receive is crucial for their professional development. Yet the majority of workers dreads receiving feedback and fails to ever learn from it. As I talked about recently there is a good way to give feedback, and if the giver is terrible at explaining what needs to be done, there is nothing you can do about that. But even with someone that is bad at giving the feedback, you can still glean out learning points.
Know Your Triggers
The first step to properly receiving feedback is to know what sets you off. Do you find that the person giving the feedback bothers you? If so, then you need to go into the meeting and disregard that notion. Do you accept feedback well in a meeting, but not as much over email? Then you need to make sure you are focusing on the content and not the delivery method.
We all have triggers that set us off. The first step to learning from the feedback you receive is to know those triggers, and minimize them.
Separate the What from the Who
If you can’t concentrate on what is being said because of who is saying it, then you might as well be listening to a dog bark. Feedback is neutral; it is not an attack on you. So when someone gives you feedback that you don’t like, you need to make sure to separate the what from the who. The same goes for feedback you do like. It’s not about the person praising you; it’s about the person praising your work.
When you know that the criticism isn’t directed at you as a person, there is a lot less pressure on you as a person. Sure many people identify with their work, but it is not what defines you.
See the Opportunity
If the giver is adept at giving feedback, this won’t be a very hard issue to deal with. In fact, those giving feedback should clearly outline the opportunity because they have in mind what they want accomplished. But most people don’t give feedback very well, so you have to figure out where the opportunity is.
Take for instance if you get feedback on a project that says, “Try harder next time.” Your first reaction will be to count up all the hours that you put into the project. You will want to complain about how you did your best, and you did try hard. But you’re missing the entire opportunity. Instead you should take the time to look at similar projects in the past that went over much better. What was done differently? What do you need to change? How can you learn from this?
Implement the Task
Knowing what to do is only half the battle. Now comes the hard part about making the change. Did you know that on average it takes 66 days to form or break a habit? That means the changes that you know you need to make must be done for the next two months before they become part of your normal routine. Don’t skip out on this step; it’s the most important one.
Ask for a Follow up
Feedback is much more effective if the receiver initiates. So if you are given feedback about something that you need to change, then schedule a time when you can follow up. Rarely will a boss or superior ever turn you down for this. If you are truly intent on learning how to grow from receiving feedback, you need to receive it constantly.
Nobody wants to go into an evaluation and receive feedback on all of the things they did wrong. But sometimes that is what happens. Instead of focusing on the person delivering the message, or taking it as an attack against you, focus on the feedback and how you can use it to grow as a person. It can take receiving feedback from a negative thing, to a positive thing.
As a writer in Billings, Montana, I love to get feedback on my work. Let me know what you think.