How to Be Open to Feedback

By: Adriana Nakamura


Professionals, Students

I can’t think of too many people who actually enjoy being told they need to improve on something. It’s easy to take feedback personally; it can feel as though someone is attacking you and how you do things. However, this isn’t the case all of the time. When given properly, feedback will very likely help you improve.

Whether you’re getting feedback from a manager, a client, or a co-worker, you should at least consider what they have to say before letting emotions get the best of you.

The following are some tips on how to accept feedback well: 

Acknowledge Your Feelings, Then Set Them Aside

If your first feeling regarding feedback is a negative one, that’s fine. Feel it, then let it pass. Remind yourself to listen and know that what you’re hearing isn’t negative. Think about how the feedback you’re receiving will help you improve in the future. This will take some practice, but once you start it gets easier each time–and you become more open-minded to other possibilities. 


This seems like a given, but listening is a skill that takes a lot of practice. How often do you actually stop to listen to what someone is telling you? Are you listening and comprehending, or are you thinking about how you will reply? If you’re in your head thinking about how you will reply or defend yourself, or thinking about how they’re wrong, try to make yourself take a step back. 

Instead of thinking about how you will reply, actively listen to what they are telling you. If you need clarification on something they say, ask. There are many times when miscommunications happen because the person receiving the information is not listening and understanding properly. So listen first, comprehend, then ask questions if you need to.

Change Your Mindset

Feedback can be incredibly helpful even if it does sting the ego a bit. If you react negatively to something, consider why you’re feeling offended. Maybe you know, deep down, that what you’re being told might have some truth to it. Consider what aspects of the feedback you’re given are valid and use them to improve the areas where you need it most. If you look at the feedback as helpful information that will allow you to improve (instead of criticism), you will go much further. 

Say Thank You

Giving feedback can be just as hard as receiving it. So if someone is willing to work with you to help you get better, thank them. Chances are, the person helping you improve has a lot of knowledge that you can learn and grow from. The fact that they are taking time to help you get better speaks volumes about what they think of you and your potential to do well. So listen to them, take their suggestions seriously, and know they just want to see you do well. 

Once you can start to put some of these tactics to work, you will be amazed at how much you grow and learn. Feedback doesn’t have to be something you dread. Just listen, consider it, and implement it if it makes sense. 

Post Tags:

Career Advice, Feedback

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