Receiving Feedback Doesn’t Have To Be Scary. Here’s How You Can Get Most Out Of It

Sharing an expert of an article by NPR. Why do so many of us dread feedback and criticism? Receiving feedback is often characterized as an intense and intimidating experience; however, it doesn’t need to be. Feedback coach, professor, and author of Feedback Mentality, Shanita Williams says, “I think that’s where we get it wrong, is that we think any bit of information is meaning that we are less than as a person or that we are unworthy or unfit or incapable… feedback is just information, and you have the power to decide what you do with it.”

Stacy-Marie Ishmael, another expert in receiving feedback, reflects on the fear surrounding annual reviews. Ishmael posits, “I think that [annual reviews] are the worst is because nobody should be hearing something from you for the first time in this super high stakes, very formal environment in which there, in some cases, continued employment or a promotion or a raise or something else that’s really meaningful to them is tied to that.”

Ishmael and Williams have a few guidelines for receiving feedback gracefully:

  • Remember that you don’t have to use every bit of feedback that comes to you.
  • Remember the acronym SIFT: consider the source, impact, frequency and trends of the feedback so that you can make an informed decision about how you want to incorporate it (or ignore it).
  • Ask for time and take notes to review later.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Stay OPEN: observe, probe, express how you feel, and then decide on the next steps. 

“That moment when a colleague wants to give you some feedback may never be your favorite moment of the day, and it can be uncomfortable. But with this advice from Ishmael and Williams, maybe the next time you sit down for a feedback meeting or even if you decide to read your own podcast reviews, you can SIFT, stay OPEN and stave off any panic.”