Career Masterclass: Using feedback

By on January 22, 2013

1. Clarify

The fuller and more specific the feedback, the better. If you think your manager’s holding something
back, express your desire to improve. If you don’t agree or understand, delve deeper with questions,
then summarise back to check you’re on the same page.

2. Ask around

Your manager isn’t the only person who has to work with you. Ask clients and colleagues for informal
feedback and tackle urgent issues and recurring themes first.

3. Pick your battles

Constructive feedback is rarely groundless but can be exaggerated. Select elements you have the
power to change (‘they lack deal-closing skills’). Anything you can’t control (a client’s mood during
negotiations), dismiss.

4. Hear the good news

Acknowledge praise as well as constructive feedback. Building on attributes can be more effective than
trying to change what isn’t working.

5. Take baby steps

Break down your most pressing challenge into manageable, short-term goals (‘I’ll call 10 lapsed clients
today’). At the end of each week, record what you’ve achieved.

6. Confide

Ask an ally to be your spotter while you tackle feedback. They can share how others think you’re doing,
keep you in line and push you when you get complacent.

7. Have the right mindset

If something goes well, make your reflections personal, permanent and universal: ‘I’m becoming a
great rapport builder’, not ‘that client was nice’. When something goes badly see it as specific and
temporary: ‘that was a tricky meeting with a difficult client, and it’s over’.

8. Be seen

Your change-management skills may be rocketing but has the feedback-giver noticed? If others praise
you, ask them to pass it on.

9. Stay alert

Have any new issues developed while you’ve been working on this feedback? Take a deep breath and
ask around.

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