Acting on Feedback

Whether it is the annual performance review a new project, handling a difficult customer or socializing at work – receiving feedback on our work and/or personality on our work and/or personality has never been easy. Typically, we all have a contrived self image. When this comes in direct conflict with how others perceive us, an intense internal strife takes place and almost everybody responds defensively, creating a negative atmosphere at work.

Contrary to this popular corporate phenomenon, professionals today need to gracefully receive constructive feedback from others. To begin with one needs to change the way they feel about receiving feedback.

Negative feedback makes one feel victimized and let down. But one needs to first analyze the origin of the feedback before taking it too seriously. In cases if deliberate criticism make it your goal to remain unaffected and work towards improving the situation. For example, if you hear something you do not agree simply say. That is interesting to ask questions to clarify what you did was wrong. Acknowledge what is true, but stand firm on your position. Prior to taking any action, take some time to think it over. Check with others to determine the reliability of the feedback. If only one person believes it about you, it may be that person, not you. To control your defensiveness practice stress management techniques like taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly understand the feedback by questioning or summarizing it which defuses hostile feeling. Confront only when your emotions are under control.

Valuable feedback affirms the worth of the person and shows that the giver is sensitive to your needs and goals. Here is some tips to receive feedback gracefully:

1. Have a positive attitude
2. Be open to different perspectives
3. Practice listening
4. Be objective
5. Avoid mind reading
6. Keep an emotional balance
7. Focus on facts
8. Take both praise and criticism in your stride

AL a senior executive in a media company asserts that Feedback whether positive or negative is acceptable to be constructive, only when it truly helps in working on your weaknesses and building on your strengths.

Acting in feedback and accept productive feedback: If it is regarding specific behavior for instance, then accepting feedback will prove to be useful, For example, your colleague suggest that you smile while interacting with customers at help desk; it will improve your conduct at work.

Assess feedback: Check the quality of the feedback. Is it genuine or abusive? Ask yourself if there is any truth in it.

Be rational: It is tough to receive feedback, but do not sulk or withdraw from the person giving the feedback. Take time out and boost your self-esteem.

Opt to use feedback: If the feedback allows you to grow and develop as a person, at work or personally, it is a gift. However if it is futile ignore it. Finally, it is your decision on how to act upon the feedback.

Interact with feedback giver/s: Set a time and place to discuss the feedback. Openly share your views on the feedback. Ask for guidance on how to progress and discuss potential options.

Plan change: Be clear what needs it be done differently. In case there are numerous things, prioritize accordingly.

Commit to changes: Select your actions and follow up on them with specific dates. This will build an environment of trust and confidence at work.

Thank the feedback giver: If the feedback has helped you thank the giver sincerely and express your appreciation.

A key aspect to bear in mind is the fact that feedback is one opinion coming from another individual’s unique perspective. It is up to you to consider it thoughtfully, evaluate it and do something constructive. Remember, it is impossible for us to see ourselves as others see us, but it is very important that we don’t allow these blind spots to endanger wonderful opportunities.