How to Request and Accept Feedback

3-5 Minutes to Read

Why are employees so intimidated by “Can I see you in my office”? It might be that feedback from your boss, or even your friends and family, has developed somewhat of a negative aura. It seems that many people think of feedback solely as criticism. However, feedback is essential to your growth in both professional and social settings. It is how we, as humans, determine if we are doing things satisfactorily or if we need to make some improvements.

Feedback points out our strengths and weaknesses, from a routine health check to an annual review at your job. Think of it as a progress report for adults. As soon as an employee, and people in general, decide to ignore that negative shadow surrounding feedback and embrace it for what it is, then that is when their professional life will take off.

2 men in meeting and laughing

What Is Constructive Feedback?

Constructive feedback is guidance that will help one achieve a positive outcome. This usually entails pointing out our areas of improvement and a plan to improve. Constructive feedback will help you see some potential bad habits at work. It might also show you some poor impressions you inadvertently make on others around you. Without this feedback, you cannot hope to be considered for promotions and, in some cases, keep your job. You must be the best employee you can be for yourself and the company where you work.

How Can I Request and Accept Feedback?

The benefits of accepting feedback go further than just improving your work. When an employer sees an employee who receives all the constructive feedback, this shows that they are open to growth and will make a valuable team member for years to come. An employee who not only accepts the feedback thrown at them but also requests feedback regularly will truly show promise to the boss. This will also help your stress at work lower. Annual reviews should not scare you if you accept regular feedback and improve throughout the year.

 

It is much easier to talk about requesting and accepting feedback than to do it. There will be times that you disagree with the constructive feedback or you think that you are being picked on. Here are some professional tactics employees can utilize when asking for and accepting feedback.

How Should I Request Feedback?

Employees who want and value constructive feedback and go out of their way to request it will show a lot to the company. Employers want people willing to learn and grow, not someone stuck in their ways. Don’t be afraid to let your employer know what your goals are with the company. This will tell them where you want to be in the future, and they can use their expertise to help guide you there.

You should be very straightforward with your employer and ask for feedback directly. Tell them you would like to schedule a meeting with them and be sure to let them know the topic for the meeting. This will give them time to prepare your feedback without being put on the spot. A simple statement like “I would like to know how I am performing for the company” will work most of the time.

Employee talking to his boss

Other times, the employer might need to be coaxed by asking specific, more detailed questions. “What are a few areas that I could improve upon?” or “How could I have completed last week’s task more efficiently?” are a few examples. You shouldn’t push for feedback if there is no feedback to be given, though.

When working on a project, you should ask for small briefings at specific points during the task. This will help you make any improvements mid-job. Once the project is complete, then you might ask for a meeting to debrief your performance. This would be a good time to ask what areas you could improve. You could also bring up certain aspects you notice that you can improve to get their opinion.

How Should I Accept Feedback?

Constructive feedback will make or break you in the professional world. If you dream of one day being the person giving feedback and developing your own team of super employees, then feedback must be your best friend. Don’t be satisfied with accepting it; look for it. Some things to keep in mind when receiving feedback include:

  • Do not overreact to your employer’s constructive feedback. Remember that this is simply their perception of a particular area of your work. Also, remember that they are trying to make you the best employee their company can get. If you disagree with the feedback, you might try to discuss your work area further with them. Sometimes, their opinion was skewed by false information or a misunderstanding. Control your temper and emotions to solve the issue with a level head.

  • Do not try to explain yourself out of negative feedback. Your boss is trying to help you and the company. If you try to explain this area of weakness away, then you will not learn from it, and you will not be the best employee you can be. It would be best if you took all constructive feedback seriously, no matter how severe it might be.

  • After you have heard the feedback, you should take a moment to form your own opinion. Someone’s perception of your performance could be different from your own. However, if you get the same perception from multiple sources, this area of your work will need some attention.

  • Once you have been given constructive feedback, you should discuss what goals you should take to correct this area of weakness. Creating a S.M.A.R.T goal is a great way to develop an action plan. These goals must be Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Reachable, and Timely.

  • Make sure that you take the time to follow up with your boss to see if you are showing improvement in your work. Implementing your goals to improve your work will frequently be a lengthy process.

  • Accepting constructive feedback will take a mindset that says you are not perfect and want to be better. There will be times that you disagree but remember that you are a professional, and there is always a way to come to an agreement.

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