Whether you’re in a supervisory position or an entry-level one, understanding how to give and receive feedback is an important part of doing your job well. As a manager, you need to be able to provide honest, constructive assessments of your direct reports, and as an employee, you should know how to seek out and benefit from constructive criticism.
While we all enjoy giving and receiving compliments, meaningful feedback goes beyond that, requiring a conscious commitment to performance assessment, whether for yourself or for others. With that in mind, here are four tips on giving and receiving feedback:
1. Requesting It
Rather than passively wait for an annual performance review, periodically seek out informal advice from your coworkers or supervisor. With less pressure attached, it is easier to accept and incorporate their feedback, and being proactive means that you will be learning and growing constantly. Remember, you’re not asking to be criticized, you’re asking someone to help you improve.
2. Incorporating It
If you treat feedback like the junk mail you throw in your trash without reading, then it wasn’t worth receiving in the first place. If someone has taken the time to thoughtfully and tactfully suggest something that you could work on, honor that by spending time considering how to put their advice into practice.
3. Giving It
As a supervisor, it’s important that you understand each of your employees. A cookie-cutter approach won’t work if you want your feedback to be effective. Understand the best way to connect with each person, and their preferred style of feedback, and you’ll be an excellent manager. If you are giving feedback to a coworker or superior, think about the best way to present it so that they are appreciative rather than skeptical or unreceptive.
4. Receiving It
Separate from incorporating feedback, receiving it is simply about being able to accept it. If you receive positive feedback, be graceful, and if it’s negative, don’t become defensive or start listing excuses. Realize that whoever is providing it likely has your best interests at heart, and wants to see you grow.
Personal and professional growth are important parts of any career, and welcoming outside perspectives is key to helping this growth occur. Be proactive about giving and receiving feedback, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.