10 Tips to Receive Constructive Feedback

Mar 31 05:51 2006 Michaela Scherr Print This Article

I tend to request constructive feedback on many different things knowing there will be times I'll arc up at what I hear or read.  I've requested website reviews for months now and finally a website critiqued mine.  The first lines were about the great content, author is a great writer AND then line after line of feedback...

After the initial nervous breakdown,Guest Posting banging head on keyboard and brick wall (I suggest you restrain yourself from doing this - it hurts and leaves funny indentations in your forehead!) and sheer indignation of how could 'they' (whoever they are) think that?  I calmed down and started dissecting each piece of information carefully. 

Only the other day a very experienced IT professional friend of mine rang me to say my website had lots of meat but no sizzle.  Well wasn’t that great news?   Although this was constructive feedback, it still managed to take the wind out of my sails for a short while. 

I’ve since taken this feedback onboard and am tossing around a few ideas here and there so I can give my website that much needed zazazoom it’s meant to have!

In the past I’ve also requested feedback when job applications have been unsuccessful so I can learn to do better next time. 

Sometimes people will ask for feedback when what they're really after is approval, especially when we think we're doing a great job. When they hear what they'd rather not they go out and kick the cat, dog, or punching bag, whatever is handy, have a few drinks, or telephone all their friends.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

To receive honest, constructive feedback is much like receiving a gift, whether we think so or not at the time.   The challenge is to receive feedback with an open mind and learn from it, and disregard our natural instinct to defend our selves or our actions.  

On the other side of the coin it also takes true courage to give good, constructive feedback for fear of a negative response or reprisal, even if the feedback was requested. 

Below are 10 straightforward tips for coping with feedback:

Work on the attitude of feedback is fun, enlightening and a great learning tool as opposed to feedback is scary and to be avoided at all costs.

Feedback is someone else's opinion however there may be an element of truth in there even if the size of an atom.

Consider the experience level of the person giving feedback (did you really ask your partner for feedback?).

Allow the other person to complete what they're saying; wait at least 3 seconds before responding as opposed to reacting.

Centre and balance yourself by taking several slow deep breaths before the feedback discussion takes place.

Never take it personally.

Employ the attitude that this is a learning experience, learn what you can from it, even if it means you've learned how not to give feedback.

Be totally in the present moment.  It's the best place to be for paying attention.

Remember the reason you wanted this feedback.

Finally, thank the person for their feedback (even though privately you may not agree with it).  The fact they gave it to you gives you the option of choosing to act on it, consider it or simply just ignore it.

Receiving constructive feedback needn’t be an anxiety filled experience.  Having the attitude that feedback is a gift in disguise may be what will enable you to move mountains for you in the long term.

Now back to putting the zazazoom into my sizzleless website!

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Michaela Scherr
Michaela Scherr

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Michaela Scherr is a Transformational Coach, author of self help e-books, and publisher of a monthly newsletter called From My Desk who is totally committed to helping others create positive and action oriented changes to their lives.

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