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How Giving and Receiving Feedback Can Help You Thrive in the Workplace

When constructive feedback is given and received in the right way it can help people thrive both professionally and emotionally.

For some people when they hear the word feedback, negative connotations will often come to mind but giving or receiving feedback does not need to be a daunting experience. Furthermore, having a feedback rich culture encourages an open and collaborative working environment. We asked Abbie Morris, Director of Organisational Development APAC for her thoughts and key points to consider within the feedback process.

Giving constructive feedback at work – what do you need to consider?

“Feedback delivered well builds connection, strengthens relationships, and creates a trusting work environment” says Morris.

Whilst giving constructive feedback can sometimes be an uncomfortable experience. Morris suggests “a little bit of preparation can go a long way and drawing on specific examples to support the feedback you are giving will also help”. It is also important to engage the individual to participate in the feedback discussion so it is an open dialogue and they can share too. “Remember, feedback in its truest form is the ability to have an open conversation with someone” says Morris.

If the opportunity presents itself, and the timing is appropriate, don’t let the chance to give real-time feedback pass you by. “I encourage people to look for the opportunity to give feedback in the moment, and not to miss the moment to impact someone” says Morris. When possible, feedback should be given in a timely manner to the event. At an appropriate time that suits both people.

While certain situations may evoke emotions, it is important to keep them in check and share feedback in a respectful manner. Focusing on the situation. Feedback should always be given respectfully and come from a place where the goal is to help the individual. “Even if the situation has created an emotional reaction, the ability to deliver feedback in a constructive way, whether positive or developmental, is a key skill everyone should constantly be refining and strengthening” says Morris.

Tips for effective feedback:

  • Keep it factual
  • Prepare
  • Time is relevant to the event
  • Be conscious of how the feedback is being delivered and received
  • Encourage open dialogue during the conversation

Receiving and responding to constructive feedback

“How you perceive the word ‘feedback’ tends to shape how you react or respond when either giving or receiving feedback,” says Morris.

It takes a level of trust for someone to be willing to give you constructive feedback. If you see feedback as a gift and are open and willing to receiving feedback it can help you thrive.

So, what should you say when someone gives you constructive feedback? “I always encourage individuals to say thank you as their first response” says Morris. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the feedback, the fact that someone has taken the time and cares enough to share their thoughts should be acknowledged.

If you’re not sure what to say after ‘thank you’, it is best to then step away and take some time to consider what you have been told. Once you have had time to reflect and gathered your thoughts you can then organise a time to discuss the feedback further.

Tips for receiving and responding to constructive feedback:

  • Reflect on the points made in relation to your performance or behaviour.
  • Listen to the feedback being given, thank them for the feedback and remember, you don’t need to respond straight away.
  •  When seeking to understand use phrases such as “please clarify…” or “help me to understand…”
  • Whilst you may not agree with the feedback, that doesn’t mean it is not right.

The importance of asking for feedback

“Asking for feedback regularly from managers and stakeholders can help you understand what you are doing well, where / who you are impacting and identify areas for development” says Morris. These key ideas can go a long way in helping you stay motivated and understand what you need to do to develop yourself or your career further.

Identify who you would like to receive feedback from, then schedule a meeting with that person. Be sure to let them know that the purpose of the meeting is to receive feedback from them with the intent to develop yourself. To assist in framing the conversation focus on a specific area on which you would like feedback on.

For example, did you work with this person on a project and want feedback on your performance, or is the feedback focused more on the softer skills that you are wanting to develop?

Constructive feedback can be a positive process if you view it as an opportunity to improve yourself and enhance your performance.