WATCH: How To Receive Critical Feedback

Today, I’d like to talk about something that will occur at some stage in everyone’s career,  in everyone’s working life. And it’s about ‘How to  Receive Critical Feedback’, and there’s a number of things that you can do in order to make it a more productive and effective experience. 



‘Don’t take it personally’

Rather than some that you use something that you use to beat yourself up. So, the first thing is ‘Don’t take it personally’. It’s not about you as a person. It’s not about who you are in the world. It’s just about your behaviour in a very specific set of circumstances.

‘Listen and Acknowledge’

And, it’s important to ‘Listen and Acknowledge’ the person who’s giving you the feedback. Because if they feel that you’re not listening or that you’re not acknowledging they’re going to get really even more upset with you. So, the whole idea is to be able to go“Yeah, I hear what you’re saying and I acknowledge what you’re saying”. And, you know thank them for the feedback. Even if it’s uncomfortable right, thank them, because at least, they care enough about you to give you the feedback.

‘Ask for Clarification’

And, if there is anything that’s unclear, ‘Ask for Clarification’. Ask for some more details, some specifics. So, you really understand the specific behaviour of what you said or the action that you took and the impact it had. So, that you know much more specific about what it is that you need to change and need to improve.

‘If You Agree’

Now ‘If You Agree’ go “Yeah, I agree with that I acknowledge that. That was a mistake I messed up”.Own up to it and apologise. And, then say “Right, let’s talk about how we can make this better. What is it that I can do to improve so this doesn’t happen again?”.

‘If You Disagree’

However, ‘If You Disagree’, also say so and say, “I don’t necessarily believe that that’s the case and this is some clarification from my point of view”. But at least you’ve done these three steps to begin with, then you can say well, “What is it that you would do? or How do you feel about the situation? and What is it that you would do if you were me, given my circumstances, given the context that I’vebeenoperating in? And if they can’t really come up with a reasonable answer around that and they’re just venting at you. Well, then maybe you can just say. “Yeah, okay thank you”, move on and just let it go.

‘RecognisingThe Opportunity’’

And, above all, it’s always about ‘RecognisingThe Opportunity’ to learn and grow. So, if you have a Growth Mindset, even if the feedback is uncomfortable, you’re still going to take it as an opportunity to learn and grow. And, don’t dwell on it. Let it go, move on and think about how can I make this help me to be even better?

So, when it comes to Critical Feedback, Stay Curious!


With best regards,

David Klaasen 

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results. 

©David Klaasen – 2014