Top ten tips on receiving feedback…even Brad Pitt needs these!

“I phoned my grandparents and my grandfather said ‘We saw your movie.’ ‘Which one?’ I said. He shouted ‘Betty, what was the name of that movie I didn’t like?’”

‘Constructive’ feedback happens to even the Brad Pitts of this world! The impact of social media is transforming our society into a community where we more readily share news and invite opinions.  This more open environment also means that both giving and receiving feedback is becoming the ‘norm’.  We have commented before in how to give feedback effectively, but here are our top ten tips on how should we act when we are on the receiving end:

  1. Be prepared.  If you feel emotional, cool down before you sit down.
  2. Be receptive. Make it as painless as possible for the other person.  Assume good intentions.
  3. Clarify. If you don’t fully understand the point that is being raised, question it and ask for more examples.  Summarize and reflect what you hear.
  4. Be open.  Don’t shut down and stop listening.  If the feedback is given correctly it will be constructive.  If feedback is objective, appropriate and useful, and you act upon it, it will help you do your job better.
  5. Listen!  Don’t argue with the feedback or defend yourself.  Understand that the comments given are someone else’s perspective.  You don’t have to agree with it, but you do have to understand the reasoning.
  6. See it as an opportunity, not a threat.  Good feedback is based upon behaviours that can be changed or improved.  Seize the opportunity for behavioural development.
  7. AID: Be specific and remember
    • ACTION:   what did I do?
    • IMPACT: what impact did it have?
    • DO DIFFERENTLY: what needs to be done next time?
  8. Focus on the future.  Ask for specific advice on what to do differently/ less of/ more of going forward.  Ask open questions: “How could I have done this better?”  “What could I do differently?”
  9. Review.  Agree actions and timelines. Focus on the way forward and let them know you are committed to improve. Follow up and review progress.
  10. Thank the person giving you feedback.  Let them know you valued their thoughts.

If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” John Wooden (UCLA head coach)


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