Throw Out Fifty Things

When you’re the “receiver:”

Interestingly, many of the same basic steps apply as when you’re the “giver.” But as you’ll see, the most important skill in receiving feedback is to be a world-class listener; so you’ll weave in the other steps as appropriate, depending on how the conversation goes. But be sure to answer these questions, whether or not you feel you’ll be able to cover them all in the actual review process. If you do, you’ll be more focused and ready to make the feedback conversation a rich one.

1. What’s your objective? Exactly what do you want your supervisor to think and feel about you as a result of this conversation? What actions do you want her to take on your behalf? Again, don’t allow this interchange to be haphazard. You want her to think, “Wow, I’m lucky she’s working in my department. She “gets it” about what we’re trying to do here and has the will and the commitment to help us get there.” Outline exactly what specific points you’ll make to ensure she comes away with that point of view.

2. Listen! Your job is not to “critique the critique-er;” it’s to learn as much as you can about what you need to do to move your company and your career forward. Don’t defend your results or your behavior or argue any of her points, hard as that may be! Listen and learn. Take her comments as a “gift” and decide later which suggestions make sense and which you’ll act upon. All feedback is good feedback. Your job is to accept what works for you and to leave behind what doesn’t.

3. What’s working? Be prepared, either after your supervisor is finished with her remarks, or better, during the actual conversation, to comment on what, from your point of view, is working well. For example, you can talk about what you love in terms of what you do, and what you’d like to do more of. This is a chance for you to point out some of the successes she may have overlooked and underscore how much you appreciate her support.

4. What’s not working? Nothing is perfect. What are some of the roadblocks you’ve faced to getting good work done? How could they be eliminated or worked around? This isn’t a complaint section, but it is an opportunity to call it the way you see it, and make some positive suggestions.

5. What’s missing? What do you need to be more effective? You might mention the need for support and cooperation from other areas, your desire for more frequent feedback, or what single recommendation you have for moving the business forward.

6. What’s my commitment? “Okay,” you might say, “what I’m hearing is this…” Reiterate what your supervisor said was working, not working and what her recommendations are. This is where you show that you are indeed, listening and that you’re committed to moving forward and to making whatever changes need to be made.

- Spend a few minutes thinking of a performance you gave or received - and how it might have turned out differently if you’d used some of these techniques.

- Share your insights with the person next to you.

- If you’ve got a good story to share with group, by all means do!

Tags: feedback, receiving feedback

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