Lay It On Me: 5 Ways to Get Better at Receiving Feedback

What is your relationship to feedback? Do you crave it or hate it? @@Not too many of us are indifferent when it comes to feedback.@@

In the last few years, Sheila Heen has brought attention to the topic of feedback through her book, Thanks For The Feedback. In it, she describes the 3 types of feedback we all receive:

  1. Appreciation: “I see you.” “I get you.” “You matter to me.” “You’re valued.” Appreciation provides motivation.
  2. Coaching: To help expand knowledge, sharpen skill, improve capability. Coaching is the main engine for learning and growth.
  3. Evaluation: To rate or rank against a set of standards, to align expectations, to inform decision making. Evaluation helps you know where you stand and what to expect or work on next.

When it comes to feedback in an organization, she says, "The fastest way to change the feedback culture in your organization is for the leaders to get better at receiving feedback."

So how do we get better at receiving feedback? Here are 5 ways:

1. Know Your Receptivity

When it comes to Appreciation, Coaching and Evaluation, what do you receive with the most comfort? Which leads to the most growth for you? Are those the same or different? It’s important to know how you respond to different feedback and what your positive and negative triggers are.

2. See Blind Spots

It is important to grow in your awareness of two important things. First, the area that prompts the greatest amount of feedback. If there is a recurring part of your job or personality that prompts feedback, be aware of it and ready for it. Don’t be surprised by it. Second, if you have recurring reactions to feedback, be aware of it. Nothings stifles healthy feedback more than having the same reaction over and over while remaining unaware of it. Find your blind spots within feedback and eliminate them.

3. Consider The Source

I evaluate how much trust I have in someone – and how much trust they have in me – when determining how much weight I give a person’s feedback, whether positive or negative. How much is this person truly for you? Answering this should determine how feedback is received.

4. Set Up Feedback Loops

What are the systems that ensure healthy feedback is happening in your life and on your team? From having feedback as a value, all the way down to having scheduled feedback – what is in place to create more feedback loops in your leadership?

5. Be Proactive

As a leader or the leader within a team, you won’t receive healthy amounts or healthy types of feedback if you don’t ask for it. Be proactive about asking for coaching in your life and leadership. Sheila Heen recommends this key question to ask: What’s one thing you see me doing—or failing to do—that you think is getting in my way? Be proactive about asking this question with your team.

Do you have any feedback for me? What is one action step you can take today to get better at receiving feedback?