Not the greatest at taking feedback?
Join the club.
The majority of us wouldn’t consider ourselves well-versed or even good at taking feedback.
Feedback usually elicits a shiver, a cringe, or an outright ick.
Yet feedback is not only a part of life but a powerful part of your growth.
Believing we’re just not good at receiving it helps us avoid the act of leaning into it, learning from it, and getting better because of it.
It’s a process we’d all be better off doing, so here are five ways you can start to change your relationship with taking feedback.
- Ask for it a lot and ask for it everywhere. If your evaluation meetings are bi-annual, ask for them quarterly. If you’re not used to asking for a post-mortem on how you led a project, get your team to give you some. If you’re needing transparency on your hiring methods, ask someone you’ve recently hired. Ask for feedback at every turn.
- Recognize that others are imperative to your growth. Other people can often see what you can’t, so if you’re looking to erase blindspots or fortify weak areas, asking others how you’re honestly doing can help give you insights into improvements. Trust that people want the best for you and will offer you constructive feedback in good faith when asked.
- Stop taking it so damn personally. Sometimes the biggest thing in the way of your growth is your ego. Being above reproach or avoiding feedback isn’t a sign of strength; rather, a sign of immaturity. Your actions aren’t necessarily your identity, so let others critique and speak to what you can do better without hearing it as “You suck” or “You’re bad” or some other commentary on who you are. You are not your work, so distance yourself from taking it so personally that you can’t take it at all.
- Be proud of trying! We hardly ever give ourselves points for airballs. All we see is the failure to score while totally missing our bold attempt to win. We forget that attempts are practice and the more practice, the better we get. The process isn’t our focus, only the outcome, so we miss a lot of growth recognition we could really be celebrating along the way.
- Check your intent assumption. Feedback is a whole lot harder to take if you assume the intent of the person giving it is to cut you down, to delight in your failure or smug at your less than perfect A+. We might not admit to it, but we often assume a giver of feedback enjoys seeing us squirm a bit. It’s hardly the truth. We’d be so much better off to assume everyone around us is rooting for us, teaching us, and championing us, so any words of suggestion or correction are for our betterment. Why would we assume otherwise?
If you don’t know where to start, start at number one. Simply ask for it more and go from there.
You don’t need to change your attitude and relationship with feedback overnight, so take it gradually.
You’ll be all the better for it.