Feedback: the key to receiving feedback effectively

effective key feedback

Feedback: the key to receiving feedback effectively

Accepting feedback can be challenging

Is there a key to receiving feedback effectively?

There is often talk of how to give feedback and why it is so difficult to do so effectively, however even receiving it can be also challenging.

Accepting feedback can be difficult as it has to do with two important personal needs: 

  • the need to improve and 
  • that of being accepted and respected for who we are.

3 types of feedback

Feedback, as a learning process, requires expenditure of energy.

Those who receive it, more or less consciously, decide what to listen to and if they want to change something about themselves. So, in the end, they also decide how to accept it.

The critical step is where the exchange of information takes place and the way with which this exchange takes place.

Three types of feedback can be identified, with reference to three specific areas of intervention:

  • of of appreciation = "Thank you'! This feedback is intended to recognise a positive event or behaviour; its importance is often underestimated so it is not offered, whereas it would be appropriate to emphasise a good performance whenever the opportunity arises;
  • of coaching that facilitates the communication of what is positive together with what to improve if there is something limiting = "is there a better way to ...?";
  • of evaluation = "you were wrong; your job was incorrect..." which expresses a judgment and, even if expressed with the best intentions, does not lead to listening to what is positive, something that indeed surely exists.

Effective feedback: participation

The key to receiving feedback effectively is to 'PARTICIPATE'!

When in corporate performance management processes managers are not prepared to provide useful feedback for improvement, what is the key to effective dialogue?

What can be done to make feedback useful and therefore valuable?

As it happens in all communication activities, also taking part in a feedback conversation requires holding a participatory role. Participatory means asking questions of clarification on what exactly and specifically is required to be changed.

The change must concern a single most important thing!

Steps to participate in feedback

Participating means taking the following steps:

  1. Understand where the feedback comes from and therefore, what it is based on and what event originates it;
  2. Active listening and recognise what can be improved. In this way one becomes aware, learns and opens oneself up to the possibility of constructive change; 
  3. Deciding what to do and EXPERIMENT possible alternatives.

It is important to test whether the change works. If it doesn't work, then let it go, to try another alternative, resulting in learning something anyway....

Would you like to tell me about your feedback experience?

What is the next thing you can do better, in your personal or professional life?

For more information on the key steps of the coaching process visit my services page


For further reading:

Sheila Heen, Douglas Stone 'Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well'.