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Many of us are perfectly happy to give feedback or constructive criticism to others but have a hard time accepting it ourselves. Often, such feedback is taken personally and the knee-jerk reaction is to simply reject the advice provided – they don’t know the full story anyway, do they? Plus, he or she is a fine one to talk considering…If this sentence sounds familiar, you could be struggling to not only receive valuable feedback but act on it in ways which could improve vital aspects of your life or career. 

3 steps to receiving feedback

Count to ten

This approach is most commonly associated with calming down in a heated situation or argument but has just as much relevance when being presented with feedback. Giving yourself a few moments to process the information prevents you from acting before you think, something you’ll more than likely regret later. You are far more likely to react defensively when your emotional brain is leading the way, so you need to allow time for your rational brain to catch up. 

Naturally, if this is happening in a face-to-face situation then you’ll have much less time to conduct this process, probably no more than a few seconds. Still, ensuring that you pause for a moment before responding can provide you with enough time to consider your approach before firing back. If the feedback has been presented via email, you’ll have longer to deconstruct the information and prepare an appropriate and well-considered response. 

Appreciate alternative perspectives

It can be easy to get so absorbed in our own perspective of a situation or task that we fail to consider how it may look to others. Part of the reason why we get so defensive when faced with feedback is because we are trying to argue the case for why our view is ‘right’ and theirs is ‘wrong’. Taking time to understand where the other party is coming from can quickly help you to see that there may be an alternative perspective which you hadn’t considered. If you still can’t seem to understand their viewpoint, be sure to ask for clarification and then try again.

Be grateful

Despite feeling a little prickly at first, feedback is one of the greatest gifts that can be given, as it allows you to continually grow, improve and refine your skills, offering or contribution to an organisation. Feedback which is given with the best intentions is designed to help you because the person providing it wants you to be bigger, better and more successful. It is not always easy to provide feedback, so make sure you express gratitude for them for feeling able to share it with you and give you the chance to act upon it. 

Remember, constructive criticism is an opportunity to improve, not a reason to be insulted. If you would like more help with accepting feedback and acting on it, Get in touch.

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