Get Comfortable with Feedback
When’s the last time you asked someone you trusted for feedback? My guess is that it’s been a while! For many people, we rarely think about actively seeking out feedback for our growth and development. We usually leave it to chance or wait for that annual, anxiety-producing performance review for feedback on how we are doing. However, getting feedback once a year doesn’t allow you to take advantage of this powerful strategy for growth. As an executive coach, a fundamental part of my role is to collect feedback and provide it back to the client in a way that helps them focus in on the areas of opportunities in relation to their career goals. And believe me, when I tell you I’ve seen all types of reactions to the thought of getting feedback from anxiety to real fear and everything in between. Of course, all of those reactions are completely normal. Yet, I fundamentally believe that without feedback, growth and development are nearly impossible. Feedback also helps you make better career decisions and can be a powerful tool to help you reach your career goals.
The more you ask for feedback from your manager, a trusted peer or mentors, the easier it gets to take in. More often than not, the stories we make up in our heads about feedback or how people perceive us is scarier and far more negative than the way we are actually perceived.
So, write down the names of two or three trusted people you’d like to get feedback from and check out the tips below to prepare yourself to hear and take in the feedback in a calm, receptive way:
- Stay open and curious: Focus on staying open to the feedback and approach it with a mindset of curiosity. What can you learn? What are you curious to know more about? How can you gain more clarity? Asking these questions allows you to stay receptive and open to the feedback versus closing off to it. Ask follow up questions with the intent to truly understand the feedback.
- Keep in mind the benefits of feedback: The person giving you feedback may be nervous as well so keep in mind the benefits of feedback (like helping you develop and grow) even if it’s not delivered perfectly.
- Don’t globalize the feedback: As humans, we have a tendency to take feedback that’s related to a certain behavior and turn it into a characteristic about ourselves and globalize it to who we are. Keep in mind that your growth areas don’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad employee. The behavior is separate from you as a person.
- Work with your strengths to address the opportunities: I’m a firm believer of working with your strengths so look at what strengths you have that can help you with your areas for growth.
- Thank them: Take the time to thank those who took the time to give you feedback. Whether you act on it or not is up to you but it’s important to acknowledge the time and thought people took to provide you feedback for your growth.