Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Receiving Feedback

We've all read lots of books and articles on giving feedback, but what is the best way to receive feedback?  My default response used to be to explain my position, show how I do what the person is asking, or show how I wanted to but someone else prevented me.  If I am caught off guard or stressed, these are still my gut instincts.  However, I have learned two much more constructive ways to respond to feedback that I strive to use more often.  The first started as I became more self-aware and felt comfortable and safe acknowledging and working on my weaknesses.  If someone points something I am aware of and I feel safe (i.e., it is pointed out in a private forum versus a public forum) the best thing I can do is say "I know, do you have any suggestions or advice that will help me?"  If someone has the courage to step out of their comfort zone to point out a way I can improve, it is a safe bet they've thought about it beforehand.  The second way to handle feedback, especially if you are not aware of the problem, is to ask if you can have time to think about it and come back with questions.  Use the time to examine your actions objectively and then ask for advice on how to fix it.  Underlying this process is a need for self-awareness.  Without it, constructive feedback can not truly be constructive.